Families in Walsall who have used its Midwifery-Led Unit (MLU) are being asked to help shape its future as it is re-located to the Manor Hospital from its stand-alone site.
The relocation is part of a £1.6m Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust Maternity Services refurbishment and follows feedback from families who have said they would like access to an onsite MLU. The refurbishment also includes the relocation of the bereavement suite to create an enhanced environment for parents who have suffered a loss.
This redevelopment work started November 2022 and is taking place in two phases. Phase One is focusing on the MLU relocation and the transformation of the current emergency maternity entrance into the new main entrance for maternity services.
The Trust has been working closely with Walsall Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) prior to this work being started and has also outlined plans to Walsall Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee which supported the move.
Moving the MLU next to the hospital’s Maternity Unit will mean offering more birth choices to a greater number of women. Within the existing unit only low-risk women – with strict criteria – have been able to use the service. These criteria can now be expanded when the unit is co-located in a hospital setting.
The existing unit is currently 0.8miles away from the hospital. Being within the Maternity Unit means that women and babies who may have complications as their labour and birth progress have rapid access to staff who are able to support urgent care.
Carla Jones-Charles, Director of Midwifery, Gynaecology and Sexual Health at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We are so excited about the opportunities and choices this relocation opens up for the families in Walsall.
“The MVP has been extremely supportive too and together we are now carrying out a period of further listening and engagement with our communities so that we can be sure their involvement is helping us to shape and enhance the services we offer.
“The new MLU will still provide that “home from home” environment and we will be able to expand the size of the birthing rooms, offering additional features such as an area for women to have refreshments. We welcome families’ input into this development and encourage them to let us know their ideas to shape the service.”
Samantha Thompson, Chair of Walsall MVP added: “We will be making a survey available early next month and will be seeking feedback and suggestions from various groups in our communities.
“While the MVP supports this relocation and the opportunities that it will bring for our families, following feedback that we have received over previous years we are also keen to reach out to as many people as possible to consider their views so that we are truly working together on Maternity Services provision in Walsall.”