Assurance as £1m maternity unit at Scarborough Hospital is backed: COMMENT ON THIS STORY

A panel of experts have backed a plan for a £1m state-of-the-art maternity unit in Scarborough.

It means the maternity units at Whitby, Malton and Bridlington hospitals will close.

The Independent Reconfiguration Panel, which carried out a three-month independent review, believes such a facility would give "the best service for all mothers and babies" with local hospitals continuing to provide ante- and post-natal care.

Teresa Fenech, chief nurse at Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: "We recognise that there are concerns – and would like to offer our assurance that mothers and babies will still be able to get top class ante-natal and post-natal support in Bridlington, Malton and Whitby.

"Midwife-led births will take place at these hospitals until the Scarborough unit is fully operational in early 2009."

The purpose-designed Scarborough unit will offer natural, home-style birth. It will be supervised by midwives with consultant obstetricians and paediatricians on hand if needed.

Ms Fenech added: "The panel has considered clinical evidence and listened to staff and the public in their review. We agree with the panel that high-quality maternity services, led by consultants and midwives, are an absolute must for the people of north east Yorkshire. We welcome their advice and will work with NHS organisations, our staff and local people to implement their recommendations and to make sure our maternity services are second to none."

Last year midwives and doctors at at health trust delivered 1,542 babies. Of these births, 98 babies were born in the maternity units in Bridlington, Malton and Whitby, around 30 in each one.

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