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Maternity Beds Cut

CONCERNED mums-to-be in Stranraer have hit out at plans to cut the number of maternity beds in the town from eight to two.

They claim some expectant mothers will be forced into home births or more may have to travel the 76 miles to Dumfries under the new proposals. At the very least, they say, some mothers will have to go home against their will less than 24 hours after giving birth.

Stranraer's new hospital is expected to be completed in the next two years. Bosses on the NHS Dumfries and Galloway Board have decided the maternity unit will be equipped with two delivery suites, one more than the current Clenoch Ward. But the number of recovery beds will be slashed by three quarters from eight to two.

The Clenoch Ward is to be closed down in August with maternity facilities moving to the Garrick Hospital where, in line with the new hospital, there will be only two beds.

Now an antenatal group are to put pressure on bosses to rethink their plans. They claim they will be forced to go home from hospital before they are ready.

Julie McClurg of Portpatrick is expecting her second child in August. Speaking on behalf of the antenatal group she said:

"We only discovered these plans last week and they have filled us with concern.

"There will be two beds on offer but sometimes there can be as many as eight or ten births in one week.

"What will happen then? Will we be forced into home birth where we don't know what complications might arise? Or will we have to travel the 76 miles to Dumfries for a bed?"

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