Campaigners claim “wonderful” maternity victory

PUBLISHED: 11:01 02 November 2010

CAMPAIGNERS battling to save overnight stays at a valued maternity unit, used by new mums from across East Devon, have hailed a u-turn over its destiny as “a wonderful victory for people power.”

CAMPAIGNERS battling to save overnight stays at a valued maternity unit, used by new mums from across East Devon, have hailed a u-turn over its destiny as “a wonderful victory for people power.”

NHS Devon planned to stop overnight stays at Honiton’s community hospital but has now recommend some mothers could be allowed to stay if midwives felt they needed extra support.

The authority said it listened to mothers and other important stakeholders and decided to change its original proposal.

Women who are clinically fit for discharge after giving birth will now be able to stay overnight if a midwife feels they need more help.

Thousands of people, including many from Ottery and Sidmouth, joined a campaign against proposals to reduce the service, claiming it would mean less support for new mothers, particularly ones exhausted after childbirth, or those with breast-feeding difficulties.

Dr John Ackroyd, a retired GP from Ottery, said: “As ever, the devil is in the detail of course and we are waiting to hear more about the criteria that will be used by midwives to assess mums. This decision is an inspiring sign that if you are determined enough to change something, you can. It has been hard work, but worth every minute to know local families will now benefit from a service that is so important to them.”

Fellow campaigner Claire Wright, an Ottery town councillor, added: “It is a wonderful victory for people power.”


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