Weston Mercury: Tens of thousands of people want Weston General Hospital to retain maternity and postnatal services

Tens of thousands of people want Weston General Hospital to retain maternity and postnatal services, with expectant mothers fearful they will not get the care they want in the town.

A petition calling for pregnant women to have the choice of giving birth in Weston has achieved more than 27,000 signatures.

The maternity programme is under review as part of a wide-ranging look at Weston’s healthcare needs.

North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) Healthy Weston plan says it is not financially viable to keep the unit as it is with so few births.

However, a final decision has not yet been made.

Weston MP John Penrose has called for the department to be developed so it can cope with minor complications, rather than such births be sent to Bristol’s St Michael’s Hospital as now.

One expectant mother told the Mercury she wanted to use Weston’s Ashcombe ward but booked to give birth in Bristol amid concerns over resources.

Weston Area Health NHS Trust says its service is safe.

Its spokesman said: “Our midwife-led maternity unit at Weston General offers all aspects of maternity care, seeing almost 1,500 women a year. Five to 10 mums a month have their babies with us.

“If mums-to-be are worried about their pregnancy they can be referred to our early pregnancy assessment centre which sees pregnant women from as early as six weeks up to 19 weeks and six days. As part of their care Weston mums choosing to have their babies in St Michael’s in Bristol (about a third) can have their routine scans, check-ups and pre-natal tests at Weston General to avoid extra travel.”

They said efforts have been made to keep healthy women and babies in hospital after birth for no more than six hours, in accordance with NHS guidelines.

The spokesman said: “Women who have had babies elsewhere now return home to settle in with their new baby and family, and don’t need to come back to Weston as they previously used to do.

“After the baby has been born our community midwifery team in the Ashcombe birth unit then provides full clinical advice and support, checking on both mums’ and baby’s progress.

“They offer advice on infant feeding and the management of any common and serious health problems affecting mum or baby.”

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