CONTROVERSIAL plans to slash maternity services at Solihull Hospital will see a majority of borough mums to be sent to Heartlands or Good Hope Hospitals to give birth.
Expectant mothers with potentially high risk births will no longer be treated at Solihull Hospital under new plans for a scaled down midwife-led service unveiled by Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.
The proposals would see women with conditions such as high blood pressure or who need a caesarian have to travel out of the borough from next April.
An estimated 2,700 babies are born at the Lode Lane site every year and under the new plans only one in four of that figure or 675 women per year will be expected to go there to give birth.
Currently, all would-be mothers can go to Solihull Hospital and be seen by a midwife, with a doctor on hand.
After April 2010, all consultants will be based at Heartlands Hospital and the Solihull service will be midwife led.
Councillor Jim Ryan (Con, Bickenhill), who fought a campaign to keep the Accident and Emergency service at Solihull Hospital in the 1990s and into the millennium, said: “This is a reduction in services however much you dress it up.
“I oppose these changes. The trust will be reducing the facilities and specialisms at Solihull. The clinical excellence of the maternity unit will be cut. This is not a step in the right direction and so Solihull won’t be offering a first class service at Solihull Hospital. I will oppose these changes, Solihull people deserve the best.
“What if there is a complication during a normal birth at Solihull Hospital, what will happen then?”
He has now called for consultation between staff at the hospital, the public and Solihull Council.
A spokeswoman for Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, said there were no plans to close the maternity unit at Solihull Hospital and added the trust was just changing the service to a midwifery led one and the plans were not part of a cost-cutting exercise.
She also stated that if a complication arose in a pregnancy at Solihull Hospital, the pregnant mum would be transferred to Heartlands Hospital for care.
Bill Mackenzie, clinical director and obstetrics & gynaecology consultant from Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, added: “In recent months, the national guidance on standards for delivering a safe maternity service has changed.
“In particular, there is an increased requirement for specialist resuscitation skills to be available.
“The current arrangement means that Solihull will fall outside the new best practice.”