SOLIHULL Hospital’s chief has claimed the newly-named Netherbrook Birth Unit is a “symbol of progress” in the borough.
Lord Philip Hunt, chairman of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Solihull, Heartlands and Good Hope hospitals, attended the official opening of the midwife-led unit last Friday (May 18) alongside Meriden MP Caroline Spelman and the Mayor of Solihull.
Netherbrook Birth Unit, named after the hospital’s first two maternity units Netherwood and Brookhouse, has already seen 629 births since it opened in July 2010, replacing the full obstetric service.
Lord Hunt claimed its use showed that the maternity unit, which opened amid a storm of controversy, was a success.
“The unit was born out of controversy and concern over the transfer of services to Heartlands,” he said.
“But the fact it is so clearly used and enjoyed by local people is a sign of confidence.
“The key thing for many women is to have a normal, natural birth.
‘‘If they need the service of a major hospital, they can be taken there quickly,’’ he said.
“It’s the best of both worlds.
“This unit starts one of a number of new developments for the hospital and is a real symbol of the progress we intend to make here.”
Mrs Spelman added: “We fought very hard to keep a full maternity service... but this is better than losing it altogether.
“They have made the best of that opportunity and it’s clear that the low risk mothers who have given birth here are very happy with the service.
“It’s good news for Solihull to see the NHS investing in our local community.”
Attending the event was mum Japjit Pnaiser, from Olton, who had been “delighted” to find that, despite her first child being born premature, she was able to have her daughter Harsimar at her local hospital.
“It really did feel like a home from home,” she said.
“The midwives were absolutely brilliant as was the whole level of care, including afterwards.
‘‘I’ve been recommending it to everyone.”