Campaigners claim maternity unity ‘victory’

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save an overnight maternity service valued by East Devon mums have claimed a “major victory”, but could still see their hopes destroyed.

Moves by NHS Devon to cut overnight stays for new mums at Honiton Hospital were panned by Devon County Council’s (DCC) adult health overview and scrutiny committee when it met last Thursday.

A final decision on whether to chop the service, however, still lies with the health chiefs wielding the axe.

Committee chairman, Councillor Richard Westlake, emphasised NHS Devon will make the crunch ruling on the issue, not the council.

“We insist on retention of overnight stays at community maternity units for women who wish it, and the transfer back from the Royal Devon and Exeter as appropriate,” said a DCC spokesperson.

Campaigner and Ottery town councillor Claire Wright said: “They recognised Honiton as the gold standard, and said not only should it be retained and preserved, but replicated.”

Rebecca Harriott of NHS Devon said: “Our role is to balance the wishes of the campaigners for mums having a normal birth to rest in hospital, with our duty to provide safe, quality maternity services for all.”