Reporter David Irwin speaks to the woman at the helm of Solihull Hospital’s new maternity unit.
WHEN plans were announced to downgrade Solihull’s maternity services, one thing was certain - there was going to be less births.
The shift to a midwifery-led unit will see a steep drop in the numbers of deliveries- from 2,800 to between 300-350.
Joy Payne will be in charge of the new, smaller department, but argues it’s a chance to provide a safe, quieter unit for low-risk births.
“I would say that mid-wives are the best placed people to deliver low-risk births and we want to create an environment that can do that.
“It’s our aim to create a home-from-home atmosphere, which should be more conducive to women without complications.”
There are 12 midwives at the unit, seven full time and five part time.
And Joy said that she wanted to reassure patients that the relationship between mums and staff would be very much at the fore.
But there will no facilities under the new set-up to deal with more complicated pregnancies, with those mums being sent elsewhere.
This was one of the main concerns of those who campaigned against the changes.
Joy said that there would be “daily contact” between the Solihull team and their colleagues at Heartlands, in Birmingham.
“Women should be well prepared during pregnancy for where they are going to go,” she explained. “There will be discussions about their options.”
But she acknowledged there would be women who arrive at Solihull and then have to be transferred elsewhere.
“Where I was before [in West Scotland] we had a transfer rate of about 11 per cent, but I expect it might be higher in Solihull to begin with.
“I imagine it will be about 20 per cent, but we expect that to drop as the unit becomes more established.”
While it’s unclear if the new set-up will become permanent - this decision will follow consultation, Joy said that staffing levels and resources would be continuously monitored.