A MATERNITY group has written to Warrington Hospital criticising their ‘continuous monitoring’ move for women in labour.

The Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services (AIMS) chairman Beverley Beech says she is ‘more than slightly concerned’ the hospital ‘appears to be dictating this intervention without considering womens’ human rights’.

She added she would be writing to the Prime Minister and Minister of Health about the move which has previously been reported in the Warrington Guardian.

The letter continued: “I am also concerned to be told that the midwives, whom I understand are opposed to your dictat, have been instructed not to air their views.”

The news follows concerned mums highlighting a Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) report from September 2013 which said an action plan had been put in place at the hospital around the recruitment of more midwives to ‘ensure the organisation is operating at a safe level’.

In January 2014 a report also said the CCG was still working to seek assurances regarding the care of a patient admitted to maternity in early labour whose baby was stillborn and two further cases were being reviewed by the Serious Untoward Investigation group.

March’s CCG quality report added there would be a further review after areas were highlighted for further development to improve maternity care.

A hospital spokesman said staff levels are reviewed every year with seven additional midwives recruited last year which means the ward is ‘fully staffed’.

Dr Paul Hughes, medical director at Warrington Hospital, said: “Unfortunately, AIMS have misunderstood our approach to monitoring and we have written to them to assure them that it is very much a choice that is being offered.

“We have been reviewing the approach we put in place and asking for staff views.

“It has been in place in response to a small trend of lower birth weights and women presenting with some other risks such as decreased fetal movement.

“Our stillbirth rate in Warrington is lower than the national average but stillbirths do sadly occur.

“Each case is individual and is looked into very carefully to understand whether there was anything that could have been done differently.

“In some instances we request external peer review from other maternity units so we can do that independently and improve practice.”

He added reviews have not shown any ‘causal link’ between the different cases but the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists had been invited to carry out a ‘belt and braces review’.

He added: “The universal offer of monitoring was put in place as an additional safety step for our women and if the reviewers agree then we will look at withdrawing it and only offering in higher risk cases.”