Maternity unit plans scrapped

Plans to temporarily move a Thames Valley high-risk pregnancy unit have been scrapped after mums expressed concerns over safety.

Bosses wanted to relocate the Silver Star service to another part of Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital to make better use of staff when some midwives with school-age children go on holiday during the summer.

Campaigners - including women who have used the unit - were worried it would compromise the service received by mums-to-be.

The Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust say they have now reconsidered their plans, and they will now keep some maternity beds on Level 6 of the John Radcliffe's Women's Centre, instead of moving them all to Level 5 as they had planned.

They say they will still have to reduce the number of beds available on Level 6 because of the reduced number of midwives, but safety and care will not be compromised.  They say they'll be monitoring the arrangements very closely to make sure quality is maintained, and they may need to revise the plans if this is not happening.

Nuala Webb from the Silver Star Society has been telling Heart she's delighted about the announcement: "It's good news for the Silver Star mums and it's good news for other mums expecting to deliver over the summer.  We think it will save lives."

In a statement, the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust say: "We are only able to make these changes thanks to the willingness of midwives to go the extra mile by working more hours, and for consultants to give ongoing support.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank our staff for the commitment they have shown - and continue to show - to the mothers and babies in our care."