MP welcomes imminent birth centre reopening 

MP Chris Skidmore has welcomed the announcement that the Cossham Birth Centre will reopen on Monday 21 October.  

North Bristol NHS Trust revealed back in the summer that, following a major recruitment drive, sufficient experienced midwives would be available to re-open Cossham Birth Centre this month under an “open on arrival” model for labouring women, which will operate day and night. This means the centre would be opened specifically for a birth and closed afterwards. 

Cossham Birth Centre will be an option for low risk women who have been assessed antenatally as suitable by their midwife. Before arriving at Cossham Birth Centre, women in labour must telephone Mendip Birth Centre on 0117 414 6900 and speak to a midwife. 

Since the closure a year ago, Chris has visited Cossham Hospital and has repeatedly pressed to local health bosses the importance of the Centre’s reopening as soon as possible. 

The Trust had told the MP that the very difficult decision to temporarily close the Birth Centre was taken due to the unprecedented high number of women needing induction of labour at Southmead Maternity Unit. 

The closure of the Birth Centre 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 workforce on one site. 

Kingswood MP Chris, said: “I am delighted that the fantastic Birth Centre is reopening. 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 have previously used the maternity facilities for my own children." 

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