No more Hartlepudlians? Call for urgent talks over ‘distressing' maternity unit closure plans at Hartlepool hospital
Town leaders have called for urgent talks after discovering mothers can no longer have their babies at Hartlepool hospital.
Chair of the Audit and Governance Committee Coun Ged Hall said he was ‘appalled and distressed’ at the news.
Last year, the Council’s Audit and Governance Committee called for the creation of a ‘maternity hub’ in the town following an in-depth investigation into the services.
Coun Hall said: “I am appalled and distressed about the news from North Tees Hospital Trust administrators, regarding the situation of births in Hartlepool.
He added: “After a visit to a maternity hub in Blackburn, the members of the committee were confident of progress. The ‘fear factors’ have arisen about safe delivery of babies.
“We need urgent talks with the people from the Trust to discuss the way forward.”
The Audit and Governance Committee had been looking to invite members from the trust to its October meeting for an update on the ‘maternity hub plans’, but will now be looking to meet at a sooner date.
Councillors added the move could see an end to ‘Hartlepudlians’ while adding mothers want to have their children in Hartlepool.
Coun James Black said: “Everyone should be assumed to be having their child in Hartlepool, and if the risk comes up, that’s when they move.”
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Coun Marjorie James said: “Most births are dealt with by midwives, there is absolutely no difference at that point, with Hartlepool.
“There are knock on consequences for no births in Hartlepool, there won’t be any Hartlepudlians going forward if all our births happen elsewhere. You’ll be relying on Stockton and Middlesbrough for everything.”
Coun Lesley Hamilton said: “If you were to ask a lot of parents they want their babies born here, they want them to be born in the town.”
A spokesperson for the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said it will continue to work towards the best model for the area.
It said: “The work to date on the Hartlepool Maternity Hub has been in partnership with Hartlepool Borough Council, who accompanied us on the visit to the Blackburn birthing centre.
“We have both committed to working together over the course of the year to develop plans. All representative bodies involved hold responsibility to collaborate with the Trust to help identify and deliver the most appropriate services for the population of Hartlepool.
“We continue to forge ahead in creating the model most suitable for the population health of the region.”
Pre-natal and post-natal care is still provided from the Holdforth Road site and women can also give birth at home in the town.