Conservatives: Best maternity units under closure threat

Government policies mean the best maternity units are the most likely to close, the Conservatives warn.

The party said that the Darzi review, which will be published on Monday, is likely to mean services are centralised into fewer, larger units.

But it published figures from the House of Commons' Library, which show that smaller maternity units provide better care.
‘These figures clearly demonstrate the foolishness of Labour's plans to super-size our NHS,' said Conservative shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley.

‘Labour's drive for large numbers of births in ever more distant, larger obstetric units will torpedo choice in childbirth and undermine quality care for normal births.'

The party said it had evidence that 14 maternity units had already either closed or been downgraded. A further 26 are under threat.

9 maternity units closed

  • Aintree Centre for Women’s Health (Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust),
  • Blackbrook maternity centre (Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust),
  • Guisborough maternity unit (South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust),
  • Lymington and Romsey birthing centres (Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust),
  • Southport and Formby District General Hospital (Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust),
  • Wyre Forest Birthing Centre, Kidderminster Hospital (Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust),
  • Hemel Hempstead Hospital (West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust),
  • Devizes Maternity Unit (Wiltshire PCT),
  • Guy’s Hospital (Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust). 

5 maternity units downgraded

  • Bishop Auckland General Hospital (County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust),
  • Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury (East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust),
  • Castle Hill Hospital (Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust),
  • University Hospital of Hartlepool (North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust),
  • North Tyneside General Hospital (Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust).

15 maternity units under threat of closure


  • Epsom or St Helier Hospital (Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust), Heatherwood Hospital (Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Trust), Central Middlesex Hospital (North West London Hospitals NHS Trust),
  • Fairfield Hospital, Bury and Rochdale Infirmary (Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust),
  • Queen Mary’s Sidcup (Queen Mary’s Sidcup NHS Trust),
  • Salford Hospital (Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust),
  • Bridlington, Malton and Whitby maternity centres (Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare NHS Trust),
  • Hythe birthing centres (Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust),
  • Trafford Hospital (Trafford Healthcare NHS Trust),
  • Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, Welwyn Garden City (East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust),
  • Grantham Hospital (United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust),
  • Trowbridge Maternity Unit (Wiltshire PCT).

11 maternity units where there are plans to downgrade or are threatened with being downgraded.

  • Chase Farm (Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust),
  • Wycombe Hospital (Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust),
  • Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust),
  • Cheltenham General Hospital (Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust),
  • University Hospital Lewisham (The Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust),
  • Maidstone Hospital (Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust),
  • Pontefract General Infirmary (The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust),
  • St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester (Royal West Sussex NHS Trust),
  • Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath (Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust),
  • Eastbourne Hospital (East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust),
  • Alexandra Hospital, Redditch (Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust).

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