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Solihull maternity – What happens next

[toggle title=”Will we be closing the maternity service at Solihull Hospital?“]

All changes we make are temporary. A table top planning has enabled clinical staff to review the overall model, consider potential risks and mitigations and ensure as far as possible that all implications of the proposal have been considered.

It is anticipated that the necessary changes should be in place to accommodate additional births at Heartlands and Good Hope Hospitals by April. Once these are operational, all deliveries would temporarily cease at Solihull for a short period of some weeks (possibly up to eight weeks) to ensure that the new model can be fully tested and all staff fully orientated to the new model. This includes providing staff with additional training. Once this has been completed and the clinical teams are confident that the service is as safe as possible Solihull Hospital will open a midwifery-led unit and this will stay in place until the outcome of the consultation is known.

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[toggle title=”What are the temporary changes?“]

In the interim and as a temporary change to make the service as safe as possible, Solihull Hospital will continue to provide midwifery services for low risk births as a midwifery-led unit. More complicated births will be transferred to Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital or another nearby Hospital. his decision has been taken on the advice of specialist clinical staff and several external groups who have encouraged the three organisations to take early action to safeguard mothers and babies.

The temporary model will offer the following choices to patients:
  • Solihull – Low risk birth midwifery led unit; Full obstetric outpatients and ambulatory care unit
  • Good Hope – Low, medium and high risk births; Full obstetric outpatients and ambulatory care unit; Access to Level 1 neonatal unit
  • Heartlands – Low, medium and high risk births; Full obstetric outpatients and ambulatory care unit; Access to Level 3 neonatal unit

In order to accommodate the above model, the current provision of gynaecological services will need to be reconfigured. Currently elective, day case and emergency services are provided on all three sites. Under this proposal, gynae elective cases would be concentrated on the Solihull site with a small number of appropriately chosen, higher risk elective cases being undertaken at Good Hope.

This model offers a better service model in terms of:
  • Safety
  • Service Configuration
  • Risk Reduction
  • Cost-effectiveness, particularly mindful of the contingency nature of this proposal
  • Use of available specialised resources

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[toggle title=”What maternity services will still be available in Solihull?“]

From the spring (the actual date will be announced nearer the time) antenatal and postnatal clinics will continue as normal. There will be a short period when no deliveries at all can be dealt with at Solihull, but once the midwife-led unit is open, women whose pregnancy and maternity history would qualify for a home-birth will be able to choose to deliver in Solihull if they prefer.

These arrangements will continue until the people of Solihull have had the opportunity to discuss the various longer-term choices for the service, through a formal consultation process that will start in a few months time.

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[toggle title=”Why will the maternity unit at Solihull have to close to births for a short period of time?“]
It is anticipated that the necessary changes should be in place to accommodate additional births at Heartlands and Good Hope Hospitals by April. Once this has taken place, all deliveries would temporarily cease at Solihull for a short period of some weeks (possibly 8 to 12 weeks) to ensure that the new model of midwife led delivery can be fully tested and all staff fully orientated in new practices. This includes providing staff with additional training. Once this has been completed and the clinical teams are confident that the service is as safe as possible, Solihull Hospital will open a midwifery-led unit and this will stay in place until the outcome of the consultation is known
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[toggle title=”What is a midwife-led unit?“]
A midwife-led unit is a small, maternity unit that is staffed and run by midwives. They offer a comfortable, low-tech environment, where birth is treated as a normal event, in a personal, unhurried and informal environment.
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[toggle title=”How will the other two hospital’s, Heartlands and Good Hope accommodate the additional deliveries?“]

The temporary changes include:

  • Developing a co-located midwife-led unit at Heartlands
  • Using the ward vacated at Solihull by the obstetric service to refocus most elective gynaecology at Solihull, except for more complex cases requiring higher levels of peri-operative management that would fit well within the capabilities and capacity at Good Hope
  • Exchanging operating theatres between ophthalmology and gynaecology at Solihull, offering advantages to both patients and the services
  • Centring emergency gynaecology at Heartlands, to include the assessment and management of the small number of cases normally dealt with in Solihull (less than one patient a day)

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[toggle title=”When will these temporary changes be made?“]
We are currently in the planning phase and the aim is to have the plans complete and have some of the changes in place in the spring of 2010. The exact dates of all of the changes will be communicated once the plans are confirmed.
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[toggle title=”What capital works will be carried out to support these temporary changes?“]

The necessary capital works to enable this temporary model includes the upgrade of facilities and includes:

  • On the Heartlands site work to accommodate additional births, including additional induction and delivery facilities, patient assessment area and creation of a midwife-led unit
  • Internal changes at Solihull ward 12 to accommodate gynaecology elective changes
  • Solihull theatre changes necessary to accommodate the gynae elective patients (entails swapping ophthalmology and obstetric theatres)
  • Internal changes at Good Hope necessitating the conversion of two doctor on-call rooms to delivery rooms to accommodate additional deliverie
  • Creation of midwife-led unit at Solihull including changes to the birthing pool arrangements (with the provision of an additional birthing pool), alterations to existing rooms to provide en-suite facilities and a new patient assessment area

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