HEALTH Minister Daniel Poulter is to meet a York MP to discuss York Hospital’s plans to replace traditional classes for mums-to-be with virtual classes.
Drop-in antenatal classes, which prepare expectant mums for giving birth, are attended by about a quarter of mothers in York.
Last year the hospital decided to phase them out and replace them with online resources and virtual classes filmed in the hospital’s maternity suite.
As of January 1, York Hospital became the first to provide this material, with others run by York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust expected to follow suit.
But yesterday, York Central MP Hugh Bayley spoke in the House Of Commons to urge the Government to review the decision through NICE, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
Mr Bayley, who last year met staff from the hospital’s maternity department, explained the situation to the House.
He asked: “Is that an approach the Government support, and will they urgently invite the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to review the change in policy and look at its effectiveness?”
Health Minister Dr Poulter said: “I am sympathetic to the point that the honourable gentleman raises, and I am happy to meet him to discuss it further so that we can see whether the matter needs to be addressed.”
About 3,400 babies are born a year at York Hospital, and lower attendance at the classes was thought to be due to women working longer and being unable to attend sessions, which were often held in the afternoon.
Mr Bayley said: “I urged the health workers who designed the new approach to test out whether it is good at getting information and understanding across to pregnant women and their partners.
“They don’t seem to have taken any account of my concerns, which is why I raised it with the Minister.
“I am glad he will meet me to discuss this.”