LAST week, the Solihull News took a tour of the borough’s new maternity unit - speaking to staff and the first mums to give birth there.
SINCE it re-opened in July, around 30 women have had babies at Solihull’s new midwifery-led department.
Joy Payne is in charge of the new unit and said she was pleased with how things had gone since the controversial shake-up.
“Because we’re dealing with low-risk births here, we can make it a more relaxing, homely environment for the mums,” she said. “It’s very exciting to have a unit like this in Solihull. It’s very good for midwives. It shows them in their true work.”
During our visit last Thursday, we were shown the birthing pools, birthing rooms and post-natal rooms - rearranged as part of the new set-up.
While the unit can only handle low-risk births at the moment, the target is for 300-350 deliveries a year. Hospital bosses hope that this will increase to 700 births - the upper limit for current facilities.
So far, three mums have had to be transferred from Solihull to Heartlands, due to lengthy pregnancies. The transfer-rate is expected to drop as the unit establishes itself.
“I’m confident we can provide an excellent service to mums and that we’ve got a much safer set-up than previously,” added Joy.
What the mums had to say:
Donna Ensell, from Smith’s Wood, became the very first mum to give birth after the department re-opened - baby son Michalis was delivered on July 28.
“I was shocked when I phoned up and they told me I was going to be the first,” she said. “I’d had my first baby at Solihull so I always wanted to come back here. I was very impressed with the staff.”
Mum-of-three Kimberley Hogben has had two of her children at Solihull - most recently baby Jamey. “I had my first at Heartlands, but never again. It wasn’t a good experience, it was just too busy there. I wanted to come back to Solihull - it was a lot quieter and the staff had a lot of time for you.”
Both Simone Lewis, from Chelmsley Wood, and Abie Odusote, from Solihull, praised the birthing pool. “It was a brilliant experience, very relaxing,” said Simone. “I’ve spoken to my friends who all want to give birth at Solihull.”