Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Born Again!

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Born Again!

Article excerpt

Byline: Helen Sturdy

Guisborough's maternity unit will reopen next year, the Gazette can reveal today.

Just days before the first anniversary of the shock closure, health chiefs are unveiling plans for a June relaunch.

The news was greeted with delight from hundreds of devoted campaigners battling against the shutdown that stunned mums-to-be.

The move follows a Gazette campaign sparked by a wave of protest against closure blamed on staff shortages.

But heads at South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust have now recruited the equivalent of 14 full-time midwives.

The news means women falling pregnant within the next few weeks can book to give birth at Guisborough General Hospital next year.

Last November, when the doors to the ward were closed because of staff shortages, petitions were immediately launched.

And the Gazette hosted a meeting chaired by editor Steve Dyson, in a bid to gain assurances from bosses the unit would reopen.

Today those assurances were given.

But experts are telling mums-to-be that they have a vital role to play in ensuring the unit stays open.

Alison Hughes, divisional manager for women and children's services at the trust, said: "We have worked extremely hard to retain midwives, attract new midwives and look at new ways of working.

"We want to significantly increase the number of women choosing to deliver at Guisborough and we are looking at ways we can do this.

"Firstly by making sure women know they now have this choice but also by offering other services at the unit such as a drop-in service for pregnant women who have concerns and possibly providing an ultrasound scanning service."

Around 130 babies are born at the respected site each year, compared with 3,500 at The James Cook University Hospital and 1,200 at the Friarage in Northallerton.

Just last month, chiefs at the site claimed they were winning their battle against crippling midwife shortages.

Now the unit will open its doors again once the midwives have completed their training and spent time with a midwife mentor. …

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