Walsall’s Midwifery Led-Unit (MLU) is set to re-open for births this autumn giving women greater birth choices as well as continuing to house a host of supportive antenatal, postnatal and perinatal mental health clinics.
Births were suspended at the unit in Charles Street in 2017 last year due to midwifery staffing being utilised on the main delivery suite at Walsall Manor Hospital. This suspension was regularly reviewed and a recruitment campaign has been ongoing as part of efforts to stabilise the service and improve staffing.
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Maternity Services also received an improved rating from the Care Quality Commission in 2018. “Motivated and engaged” staff were credited with driving significant progress and the CQC gave the service an overall rating of Requires Improvement with a rating of Good for the caring domain. Maternity Services were rated as “Inadequate” when the CQC inspected the Trust in June 2017.
Nicola Wenlock, Director of Midwifery, Gynaecology and Sexual Health, said: “This is fantastic news – both for the women who use our services and our committed staff who have been working towards this.
“By reopening our Midwifery-Led Unit we are we will be providing greater options for birth as detailed in the Better Births recommendations and it’s important to us that we are able to do so while maintaining the safety of women and babies in our care.
“Research shows that women with low-risk pregnancies are more likely to have better outcomes if they receive care within an MLU. Evidence demonstrates that those women who choose to birth in a standalone facility will also have lower rates of intervention.”
Nicola added that Walsall’s Freestanding MLU will be the only unit of its kind in the Black Country area which would attract potential staff and encourage existing staff to stay with the trust.
Laura Parsons, Interim Matron for Community/MLU/Outpatients Department said hypnobirthing sessions, reflexology, relaxation classes and parent education classes would continue to be offered from the unit.
“It has been running as a community hub bringing together key maternity services in one place for women and their families and to be able to offer low risk women the opportunity to birth here again is really good news.
“It is a real ‘home from home’ environment and we look forward to welcoming women here in just a few months’ time.”
The exact opening date will be confirmed in due course.