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'Such a shame' - Hartlepool mothers react to fears over future of town's birthing unit

The University Hospital of Hartlepool.
The University Hospital of Hartlepool.

Mothers have voiced fears over the right to give birth to their babies in Hartlepool.

New figures show that the number of babies born at the University Hospital of Hartlepool's birthing unit had fallen from nine in 2016 to just three last year.

Many pregnant women from the town are instead giving birth at Stockton's University Hospital of North Tees.

While health bosses insist more midwives will be recruited for the Hartlepool unit, Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has voiced concerns that the "right to be born and registered as being so in Hartlepool" is being taken away from families.

Mail reader Helen Dunn wrote on our Facebook page: "I wanted to have our little boy at the birthing centre but was told a couple of weeks before my due date that it was closed due to 'water supply' issues.

"We had no choice in the end but to go to North Tees. Women are wanting to give birth at the birthing centre but the choice is being stripped from them for various reasons."

Hayley Stevenson added: "Funny that. I had my daughter here 2007. Was told when I had my second daughter in 2009 I couldn't go to Hartlepool as there was no maternity. When I had my third daughter this year it wasn't even an option. I had to go to North Tees."

Caitlyn Groves also wrote: "I had the choice for here to but was told if there was complications I would be sent to North Tees. Such a shame. I got to view the birthing rooms there and they are so nice as well."

Yet Amy Bettinson argued: "Doesn't make an awful lot of difference anymore.

"The slightest issue and they are transferred up to North Tees where there's doctors any way.

"No midwife will put their livelihood on the line in case anything goes wrong and rightly so too for their sake and especially new parents and babies."

A spokesman for North Tees and Hartlepool Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “Women have the choice to book at both Hartlepool and North Tees hospital as well as for home delivery dependent on their past medical history."