Outraged mums-to-be are being told they will not be able to give birth at their local under-threat-of-closure maternity unit, even though a decision to close it has not been finalised.
The fate of the midwife-led unit at Llandough Hospital will be revealed after the end of the formal consultation process, which runs until December 10, but women are already being told they will only have a choice between the University Hospital of Wales and a home birth.
Angry mums have posted messages on a Facebook group condemning the actions of health officials. One woman wrote: 'I'm 10 weeks pregnant and it's already been made clear to me that Llandough won't be an option for my fourth child. I feel pressurised into having a home birth that I'm not completely confident about,' adding she felt 'very confused and let down'.
Another message said: 'I'm due in June 2011. I have been told Llandough will be closing in March and that I will either have to give birth at the Heath or have a home birth with a new home birth team being created after the closure of Llandough.'
The health authority insisted it was 'business as usual' at the unit, whose closure has been proposed by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board alongside the closure of Rookwood Hospital.
Mary Coakley, senior midwife for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, told reporters: 'I would like to reassure everybody staff are not being told to advise mums-to-be that they should use UHW because the Llandough unit is closing. Throughout the consultation process, staff have been repeatedly told it is business as usual at both midwifery-led units. Since these comments were first reported the message has been reiterated to staff and I have personally visited the unit to speak with the teams and reinforce that message. We will be investigating these claims as nobody should be advising women that Llandough MLU will close. I would like to publicly reassure women Llandough MLU is open, fully staffed and equipped and is operating as normal. If they are in any doubt then I would urge them to contact us immediately by telephoning 029 2074 3340.'
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