Opinions sought on future of Bishop Auckland maternity unit

HOSPITAL PLANS: Expectant mums are being asked about the future of the maternity unit

HOSPITAL PLANS: Expectant mums are being asked about the future of the maternity unit

First published in News

EXPECTANT mums are being urged to give their opinions over the future of a North-East maternity unit.

Deliveries at the midwifery-led unit at Bishop Auckland Hospital have been suspended since July last year after County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said it could not guarantee a safe outcome should a complication develop during labour.

If a woman needed consultant-led care she would need to be transferred by ambulance to Darlington Memorial Hospital or The University Hospital of North Durham, Durham City.

Prior to the temporary closure the North-East Ambulance Service exceeded its overall target of reaching 75 per cent of emergencies in eight minutes, however, the average response time to Bishop Auckland Hospital, where nearly a third of the five births each week require an ambulance transfer, was 25.2 minutes in April and 28 minutes in May.

The statistics relate to a variety of cases including traffic accident victims and people who suffered heart attacks, but there is no specific target for maternity calls.

Gill Findley, director of nursing with NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “In July 2013, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust temporarily suspended midwife led maternity services at Bishop Auckland Hospital.

“As commissioners of the majority of health services on behalf of our local population, the CCG is keen to see a permanent solution for our patients.

“We are working closely with the provider and are proposing that an independent evaluation is carried out and a full exploration of options regarding the future of the maternity-led unit at Bishop Auckland.

“As part of this, we are keen to find out the views of current and prospective patients to ensure safety and choice are an integral part of a more permanent solution.”

At the moment expectant mothers have been offered midwife and consultant-led care in Durham and Darlington as well as options at other hospitals and home births.

Comments (3)

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11:57am Sat 26 Jul 14

pilchrat says...

I don't have an opinion because nobody would listen.

I don't see why the government bothered building a brand new, beautiful, state of the art hospital, if all the local NHS want to do is slowly close it down in favour of sending things to Darlington and Durham. We don't even have a bloody A&E department any more.

If the couple of things most folk need in life (quick access to emergency care, or to give birth) can't be serviced by the local hospital, then what's the point. Seems to me if you have anything even approaching a complicated problem, you've got to be shipped to Darlington.

Given Bishop's hospital is far newer than Darlington's, it begs the question why the local NHS isn't transferring services to Bishop to make better use of the facilities.

But we couldn't have that, now, could we.
I don't have an opinion because nobody would listen. I don't see why the government bothered building a brand new, beautiful, state of the art hospital, if all the local NHS want to do is slowly close it down in favour of sending things to Darlington and Durham. We don't even have a bloody A&E department any more. If the couple of things most folk need in life (quick access to emergency care, or to give birth) can't be serviced by the local hospital, then what's the point. Seems to me if you have anything even approaching a complicated problem, you've got to be shipped to Darlington. Given Bishop's hospital is far newer than Darlington's, it begs the question why the local NHS isn't transferring services to Bishop to make better use of the facilities. But we couldn't have that, now, could we. pilchrat
  • Score: 10

11:42pm Sat 26 Jul 14

bishop1 says...

if they weren't in debt with the pfi built hospital they would have probably closed it by now .
if they weren't in debt with the pfi built hospital they would have probably closed it by now . bishop1
  • Score: 1

3:33pm Sun 27 Jul 14

John Justice says...

The "views and comments" of current and prospective patients will have little or no impact on the resultant decisions about the Maternity Unit. Historically "Consultations" with the local population over previous closures of services at the Hospital have ignored the views and wishes of those keen to see services retained. The resultant closure of the A&E dept is the classic example. The financial costs of keeping the Maternity Unit open will be at the fore front of any decisions made. Couple that with the apparent lack of the North East Ambulance Services ability to provide suitable response times even though they have an Ambulance station within two minutes drive of the hospital will help ensure the likely closure of the Maternity Unit. The decisions to close Maternity services at Bishop Auckland were, I believe taken years ago. We are seeing the death knell of yet another vital local hospital service at Bishop Auckland which will eventually become little more than a Cottage style hospital.
The "views and comments" of current and prospective patients will have little or no impact on the resultant decisions about the Maternity Unit. Historically "Consultations" with the local population over previous closures of services at the Hospital have ignored the views and wishes of those keen to see services retained. The resultant closure of the A&E dept is the classic example. The financial costs of keeping the Maternity Unit open will be at the fore front of any decisions made. Couple that with the apparent lack of the North East Ambulance Services ability to provide suitable response times even though they have an Ambulance station within two minutes drive of the hospital will help ensure the likely closure of the Maternity Unit. The decisions to close Maternity services at Bishop Auckland were, I believe taken years ago. We are seeing the death knell of yet another vital local hospital service at Bishop Auckland which will eventually become little more than a Cottage style hospital. John Justice
  • Score: 4

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