THE STROUD MP has said that options for new mums in the town are now worse than during the pandemic amid the ongoing closure of postnatal beds. 

In September 2022 a ward with six postnatal beds was suspended due to a staff shortage. 

This closure means that beds are currently only available for six to 12 hours following a birth with new mums who require extra care being offered the option of home visits or attending another centre.

Ms Baillie recently organised a meeting with health minister Maria Caulfield MP, the new chief executive at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Kevin McNamara plus councillor Andrew Gravells - chair of the Health Scrutiny Committee. 

Members from the Care Quality Commission and the Nursing and Midwifery Council were also present.

Ms Baillie, who used the postnatal beds following the birth of her two daughters, says she will continue to press for them to reopen, saying mums need them.  

She said: "The hospital is very much open and more babies are being born there now but without the postnatal beds, options for mums in the town are now worse than during the pandemic. 

"I am pushing for the trust to give a timeline for their reopening.

“Midwife recruitment is a national challenge so I do understand it will take time to reopen these six beds but I will continue to press for that to happen and for there to be a timescale. 

“Bringing together such senior decision makers and the new hospital trust CEO was really important and I thank them for joining me and for offering to support our work to reopen the beds but it is clear there is still some way to go.

Kate Buckingham, chair of Stroud Maternity Matters said: "We are delighted that the politicians are refocusing on the issue and that the fight for the reopening of the postnatal beds is not being forgotten.

"We urge families who have benefitted from the postnatal beds in the past to keep letting the NHS bosses and MP know how important this aspect of Stroud Maternity is for the wellbeing of families.

"They can write to the trust to let the new chief executive know why these beds are non-negotiable for the people of Stroud.

"Keep using the Maternity Unit and keep giving voice to the fact that being able to stay on for residential support after birth is a vital service."

Dursley GP and Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Stroud, Dr Simon Opher, said: “We have been campaigning to get these beds up and running again for over a year.

"It is amazing in the current climate that Stroud has managed to attract new midwifery staff.

"We are trying to find a local solution to a national problem, something that healthcare staff in Stroud have repeatedly done over the last few years.

"Women in Stroud deserve the outstanding service that the Maternity Hospital provides.”

Trust chair Kevin McNamara said: “The trust continues to recruit more midwives to our maternity services.  

"Although good progress has been made, in the context of national shortages, there is still more for us to do to ensure we have the safe staffing levels to reopen the post-natal beds in Stroud. 

“We welcomed the opportunity to have met with the minister and our regulators to explore how we can achieve this together."