Sidmouth councillors debate maternity changes

Maternity services management change

THE loss of maternity services at Sidmouth Victoria Hospital have again been lamented by Sidmouth town councillors.

Comments were prompted following a letter by Jayne Carroll, director of strategic commissioning, NHS Devon, who explained that management of maternity services provided in Honiton, Tiverton and Okehampton hospitals, had been transferred to the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust on April 1.

She writes: “The proposed changes…relate to the organisation of midwifery teams to improve caseload levels overall and the role of the midwifery led birthing centres in the community hospitals.

“They aim to create the best opportunity to increase the number of births in community settings, including the local units, and we have asked the RD&E to ensure the services at least match those on offer at Exeter’s birth centre.”

She said staffing difficulties have impacted on both Honiton and Tiverton birthing units, with Tiverton closing temporarily.

Public meetings have been held in the past two weeks with representatives of NHS Devon and the Foundation Trust to answer questions and receive comments about the centres.

Most Read

Councillor Ian Mackenzie-Edwards said he understood the peripheral hospitals did not have the facilities for mothers if anything untoward occurred during a delivery, including not having anaesthetists.

Councillor Ann Liverton, whose three sons were born at Sidmouth Hospital, said she was sad when the unit closed.