Proposed service changes at the Vale of Leven CMU

The Community Maternity Unit (CMU) at the Vale of Leven Hospital is a busy service providing a wide range of maternity care to all women in the area.

Around 12,000 patient appointments are made at the unit each year for antenatal and postnatal care, parent education classes, infant feeding advice and liaison with GPs and health visitors.

These services will remain locally and continue to be provided at the CMU. This means that during their pregnancy women will still receive the majority of their maternity care locally.

The only part of the service affected by the proposed service change is the midwife-led birthing service.

We are proposing that this midwife led labour and birth service is transferred to Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley. Women would also have the option to give birth at home.

Why are we making this proposal?

The midwives at the CMU are highly skilled and work as part of a team to provide antenatal care, a birthing service and postnatal care.

The service at the Vale of Leven is a freestanding unit separate from a consultant led maternity unit with obstetric consultants. As a result, midwives only care for women who will need no medical intervention during labour.

Pregnant women are currently assessed using evidence based clinical criteria to see whether they are medically fit to give birth in this midwife-led unit. Factors taken into account include: any existing health conditions; the woman’s weight; if she is expecting more than one baby; her age and her lifestyle.

Fewer babies born in the Community Maternity Unit

In recent years, we have seen a reduction in the number of women who are ‘low-risk’ and therefore eligible to be considered for a midwife-led birth. This has led to a downward trend in births within the Vale of Leven CMU.

These women have the choice of where they want to give birth. Many women opt to have their antenatal and postnatal care at the Vale of Leven CMU, but while made aware of the option to also have their baby there, choose to have their baby at a maternity hospital where medical care is available.

In 2015, there were a total of 635 pregnancy bookings. Of these, 194 healthy women with normal pregnancies were eligible for midwife led births at the CMU. This service was originally planned to accommodate around 300 births annually. However, last year, 50 women – less than one birth per week - gave birth at the hospital and 22 so far this year.

Have your say

As part of the engagement process, a public event is being held on Monday, 14 November in Vale of Leven Hospital, Community Maternity Unit Building, Main Street, Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, G83 0UA. The session will run between 4pm and 7pm.

During this you can:

  • Listen to a talk from Dr. Margaret McGuire, Nurse Director, on what we are proposing to change and why. Talks will be held at 4.15pm, 5.15pm and 6.30pm.
  • Find out what services will not be affected at the Community Maternity Unit.
  • Talk to midwives and clinical managers who run the service at the Community Maternity Unit.
  • Ask questions and feedback your views on the proposal and other options.

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