Cosham birth centre options to be retained for the foreseeable future

Maternity services at Cosham Birth Centre will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future – and health bosses are now looking to improve the service. At a meeting of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Health and Care Partnership, it was said options for the service are being kept under review. But it was stressed no decision has been made to close the centre and a decision is unlikely to be made in the near future. In February last year, the NHS announced a review of maternity services across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.  The review proposed moving consultant-led births from St Mary’s Hospital in Newport on the Isle of Wight to Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital – but Cosham Birth Centre would remain open. However, it recommended that St Mary’s midwifery-led unit be downgraded or closed and women in labour would be asked to go to St Mary’s or the birth centre at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester. NHS bosses at the time said these changes were being considered following concerns about safety at St Mary’s.  In response to a public consultation, the CCG’s governing body voted to approve the reconfiguration of the maternity services on the island in September 2022. But the plans for Cosham Birth Centre were kept under review. Speaking at the meeting of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Health and Care Partnership, Alex Whitfield, the chief executive of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board, was asked whether there would be a decision on Cosham in the near future. He said: ‘No.’ And when asked if options for Cosham were being kept under review, he replied: ‘Yes.’ He said the focus was on improving the service at Cosham. ‘We do think there is scope to improve performance at Cosham Birth Centre and we are looking at how we can do that with them,’ he said. Cosham Birth Centre is popular with women in the north of Portsmouth and has a home-from-home feel. It’s popular with women who want to give birth in a more homely setting and those who’d like to minimise the use of medical intervention. One woman, who did not want to be named, said: ‘Cosham is such a lovely unit and is a real asset to this area. ‘I had both my children there, and I was so pleased with the care I received. The midwives are wonderful and create such a peaceful and supportive atmosphere. ‘I would hate to see it close.’.

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