MP Chris welcomes birth centre decision

September 24 2019

Health Minister Chris Skidmore with staff at North Bristol NHS Trust.

Health Minister Chris Skidmore with staff at North Bristol NHS Trust

HEALTH minister and Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore has welcomed the announcement that Cossham Birth Centre will reopen in the autumn.

As reported in last month's Voice, North Bristol NHS Trust now say that sufficient experienced midwives will be available to re-open the centre under an “open on arrival” model, as well as the associated homebirth service from October 21.

Since the closure last autumn, Chris has visited Cossham Hospital and has pressed to local health bosses the importance of the centre’s reopening as soon as possible.

The trust had told the MP that the decision to temporarily close the centre was taken due to the unprecedented high number of women needing induction of labour at Southmead Hospital's maternity unit.

The closure has seen patients and women in labour being diverted to the midwife-led unit at Southmead Hospital, in an effort by the Hospital Trust to maximise their midwifery.  

Chris said: “I am delighted that the fantastic birth centre will be reopening in the autumn. Having pressed local NHS chiefs to reverse the closure, I’m pleased that the midwife recruitment drive has been successful and families can be assured of the highest standards of care.

“I’ve appreciated speaking first hand to NHS professionals at Cossham. When it comes to the safety of new born babies' lives, it is absolutely crucial that we ensure appropriate staffing levels are in place and don't play party politics with decisions that are needed and necessary. As a father and MP I am encouraged the Trust has been focusing on ensuring the safety of local women and babies in their care.

“Cossham is a local treasure. Many of my family were born here, the hospital inspired my mother to become a NHS nurse, and I recently used the maternity facilities in the aftercare of my son Henry."

North Bristol NHS Trust has among the best neonatal outcomes in the country, with an average of 6,300 births a year, which includes around 350 births at Cossham Birth Centre and approximately 700 births at Mendip Birth Centre at Southmead Hospital.