A maternity unit in Lichfield could be reopened as an “on demand” facility before the end of the year.
The proposals have been revealed in a report to a meeting of Staffordshire County Council’s health and care overview and scrutiny committee.
The birth centre at Samuel Johnson Community Hospital has been shut since 2020 when staff were redeployed elsewhere in the University Hospitals Derby and Burton Trust during the pandemic.
But despite initially being earmarked as a “temporary measure”, the unit has still not reopened.
However, the report says that could change with the introduction of the on-demand service later this year in Lichfield
The report, from Heather Johnstone, chief nursing and therapies officer at the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Integrated Care Board said:
“In March 2020, in response to COVID-19, University Hospitals Derby and Burton NHS Trust made the decision to temporarily close the freestanding midwife-led birthing unit (FMBU) at Samuel Johnson Community Hospital in order to consolidate their workforce and service provision on the acute sites.
“The proposal is to reinstate intrapartum services at Samuel Johnson Community Hospital through an on demand model. Low risk women will be offered the choice of delivery at home, the midwife-led birth centres at Queens Hospital in Burton or the FMBU.
“Two workforce models have been identified that would staff the on-demand model. These are community-based, involving the community midwives to be on call for the unit, or an acute-based model that would release a midwife to the unit when required with community support.
“Additional staff are scheduled to start work in September 2022, following a robust recruitment campaign.”Heather Johnstone
The report said health bosses were “committed” to reopening the Samuel Johnson Community Hospital birth centre as an on-demand unit in December 2022.
The news comes after councillors in Lichfield and Burntwood called for answers over the reinstatement of the maternity services.
It will be discussed by the county council’s health and care overview and scrutiny committee on 11th July.