VICTORIA PRENTIS MP ASKS PRIME MINISTER TO CARRY OUT SAFETY REVIEW INTO MATERNITY SERVICES
During Prime Minister’s Questions on 1 March 2017, Victoria Prentis, the Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, asked the Prime Minister to carry out a review into NHS maternity services to ensure that they are safe, kind and close to home.
Victoria asked: “When I was canvassing in Copeland recently, people there wanted to talk about the future of their local maternity unit; it was just like being at home in Banbury. Rather than politicise the NHS, would the Prime Minister agree to a review of maternity services, encouraging care that is not just safe but kind and close to home?”
In her response, the Prime Minister said: “A professionally led review [into recruitment issues surrounding maternity units] seems very sensible, and I know that the Health Minister is looking into it.”
Many have raised concerns about the safety of maternity services in Oxfordshire, particularly for mothers and babies in and around Banbury. Following the temporary downgrade of maternity at the Horton General Hospital, expectant mothers whose pregnancies are considered high-risk are having to make the long journey into Oxford for their maternity care. The decision temporarily to withdraw consultant-led services was taken following issues with the recruitment of middle-grade obstetric doctors.
After her question, Victoria commented: “Unless mothers are able and willing to deliver in a Midwife Led Unit, those in and around Banbury are having to drive around thirty miles, often in heavy traffic, to reach their nearest obstetric unit. It is simply not acceptable and more needs to be done to recruit the doctors we need.
I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Department for Health and local organisations to ensure that we are working to tackle both national and local recruitment issues.”