A CALL is being made for everyone to have their say on two options for the future of maternity services in Wigtownshire – as consultation gets underway.
A series of in-person events and an online survey will set out the options to provide a birthing service for pre-planned, ‘low-risk’ births.
These represent around a quarter of all pregnancies in Wigtownshire.
Lyn Durrant is General Manager for Women, Children and Sexual Health, and she said: “We’re very keen to encourage and support everyone in Wigtownshire to provide their response to this formal consultation on birthing services.
“A full programme of engagement begins today, Monday November 20.
“We’d invite everyone to have their say, to help spread the word to friends and neighbours, and encourage the fullest participation – as the approach which emerges from this will serve Wigtownshire for years to come.”
Engagement earlier in the year gathered the thoughts of stakeholders including service users and staff.
The work took place under the direction of independent chairs, and the findings were used to develop several different options for ‘intrapartum’ birthing services.
After the options were scored, two shared first place.
One was for the current arrangements, providing only for low-risk home births.
The second option would allow pre-planned births within Galloway Community Hospital, but only for the same relatively small number of low-risk births and with the same level of support provided for home births.
This second option was narrowly preferred by the independent chairs when the scores by local professional NHS staff were excluded.
Feeling there was a lack of a decisive outcome, and with no proposals or options having yet been taken out for the public to consider, a recommendation was agreed by a sub-committee of the Integration Joint Board that two options be taken out for formal consultation.
Lyn Durrant said: “Just to be clear, and contrary to some reporting, neither of these options would represent a full birthing service in Wigtownshire.
“High risk pregnancies have always been advised to take place in Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, and this would remain the advice.
“It’s important that everybody takes the time to understand all the considerations here, including the fact that both options would only be for low-risk pregnancies and that this is about 23 per cent of all pregnancies in the area.”
The consultation is set to run into February.
Once it has concluded, independent agency Sleeping Giants will produced a thematic analysis of what has come out of the consultation.
This independent report will then be used to help develop a recommendation which will be brought to Dumfries and Galloway Integration Joint Board.
Full details and the online survey are available now at the website https://dghscp.co.uk/maternity-consultation/