WHEN Lesley Priseman went into labour she was lucky enough to have just a five-minute journey to her local maternity centre.
The 22-year-old gave birth to daughter Kira Amy at Blake Maternity Centre in Gosport, less than a mile away from her home.
But one week earlier and Miss Priseman would have had to make the 12-mile journey to Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham.
The new mum was the first woman to have a baby at Blake Maternity Centre since it reopened earlier this month, after it was temporarily closed to births in September last year.
Midwives from Blake and The Grange maternity centre in Petersfield had been transferred to QA to deal with a baby boom.
But fortunately for Miss Priseman, her baby came on January 10 – the day after midwives returned to Gosport.
‘I’m pleased I got to go to Blake,’ said Miss Priseman of Mayfield Road, Gosport. ‘I chose to go there because it’s much closer to home. The centre was really nice and the staff were lovely.’
Miss Priseman is now urging hospital bosses to keep centres like Blake and The Grange open, as their long-term futures remain in doubt. She said: ‘It’s nice to have a centre in Gosport for people who live here. It’s much closer for us than having to go out of Gosport to Portsmouth.
‘I don’t think they should ever close it.’
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs maternity services, relocated midwives from outside the city to QA, as it said most births were taking place there.
As promised it transferred midwives back on January 9, although Gill Walton, head of midwifery, said there could be no guarantee over the future of the centres.
She said: ‘The trust is and has always been fully committed to providing the highest possible standard of care for expectant mothers and their babies and we are very pleased the midwives have now returned to each centre. We are delighted that mothers are choosing to have their babies at both Blake and The Grange.