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MP criticises decision to stop York antenatal classes
AN MP has challenged the decision of York Hospital to replace antenatal lessons with “virtual classes” for expectant mothers to watch online.
A reduction in women going to antenatal classes to prepare for giving birth – which are currently attended by less than 25 per cent of mothers – has led to a decision to phase out classes for most women in December.
However, York MP Hugh Bayley has said he wants to meet with York Hospital about the plans to cut the classes and will potentially take the matter to Parliament as part of his campaign for a fair share of money for patients in York.
He said: “Having a baby and bringing it up is difficult and parents need a lot of help and advice. Currently they get that from antenatal classes which are very important, the wellbeing of the child depends on it.
“If there has been a drop off in the number of people attending it makes sense for the hospital to look at other ways to reach patients. But do not get rid of the existing service until you have found an alternative works better.”
He also suggested antenatal classes could be held at a more convenient time so parents could more easily attend.
The decision to cut antenatal classes completely has been questioned by parenting charity NCT, which said classes should cater to the different needs of parents instead of being stopped.
York Hospital said the online classes will contain comprehensive information for parents and said one-to-one meetings with midwives would continue. Teenage mothers and mothers having more than one child will continue to have antenatal classes.