Shameful closure of two Birthing Centres
One of the most serious effects of the round of cuts in Montgomeryshire hospitals announced last week by Powys Health Board is the loss of the birthing centres in both Llanidloes and Newtown. These facilities provide a homely and welcoming perinatal environment and their loss could reduce the options of giving birth in Montgomeryshire to Welshpool or a home birth!
The National Childbirth Trust estimates that 85% of the costs of a birth (in hospital or at home) are those of the midwife so closing these valued birthing centres will save Powys Health Board very little money. Also the increased likelihood of stress by giving birth further away from home and in more stressful surroundings is likely to increase the incidence of trauma and raise costs even more in the long run.
In addition Powys Health Board's cuts are based on a population projection worked out in March 2005 since when there has quite clearly been an increase of young workers from the EU accession countries including some young couples who may well require perinatal services in the near futrure.
The economics of the health service along the M4 corridor just do not apply to Montgomeryshire and it is time that the Labour Assembly Government funded these maternity services to give Montgomeryshire mothers the help they deserve.