Further to our previous post, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust is not saying what has happened to prompt the closure of Chippy’s maternity unit, but stories, including on a Chippy Mums’ Facebook page, include rumours of midwives being fired or moved, whistleblowing over management practices, and a direct effect on services available.
There are no suggestions of clinical quality issues. The impact is on local mothers using both the unit midwifery services in nearby town and village surgeries and clinics.
Reassurances over closure
Jane Hervé, Head of Midwifery at the OUH Trust, will lead the review and the Trust says she will “engage with staff, local mothers, new parents and representatives of the Maternity Services Liaison Committee (MSLC)”.
Supporters of the Cotswold maternity unit have already started a petition aimed at Jane Hervé and, ultimately, David Cameron. The petition calls for two Chippy community midwives who have been removed “for non-clinical reasons” to be reinstated. The petition can be found here.
Will the unit re-open?
County Councillor Hilary Biles told the News, “I have spoken to Jane Hervé. I feel comfortable at the moment that there have been issues at the unit that need to be investigated to ensure we have an effective service. I asked the direct question to Jane, ‘Will this unit re-open?’ I have been absolutely assured it will.
“I think we all feared the maternity unit would be closed and never opened again given what has happened in Wantage. In fact Wantage will also reopen again on 26 November. I will be meeting Jane in the near future to discuss further.”
Keith Ruddle, a News team member who also sits on the Oxfordshire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee said, “any changes here that affect service to patients will be of major concern to HOSC. The Chair, Councillor Peter Skolar, is aware of the issues and I’m sure will be asking the Trust to report to the Committee as a matter of urgency.”
There will be a fuller report on the maternity unit’s closure in the next edition of the Chippy News, on sale next week.