WANTAGE’S midwifery-led maternity unit will reopen for mothers-to-be next month.

The announcement by the Oxford University Hospitals Trust (OUHT), which runs the county’s maternity services, came after fears that women would no longer be able to use the unit’s two beds to give birth.

It was closed in February to allow building repairs to be carried out, but a subsequent staff shortage then put its future in doubt.

The news has delighted Louise Gould, of the Wantage National Childbirth Trust group, who gave birth to her daughter Georgie at the Wantage hospital five years ago.

Mother-of-two Mrs Gould, who lives in Wantage, said: “It was just a really great experience. I had one-on-one care from my midwife the whole time I was there.

“It was a really relaxed, calm environment, there was no stress involved.

“I am really pleased women in Wantage will still have the option to give birth here.”

The announcement followed a cabinet meeting of Oxfordshire County Council on Tuesday last week, which was attended by the head of the hospitals trust, Sir Jonathan Michael.

Jenny Hannaby, Vale of White Horse district councillor for Wantage, attended the meeting and backed the decision.

She said: “I am delighted to have these assurances from the trust.

“The Wantage midwifery unit is recognised as one that offers excellent midwifery care locally, with expectant mums coming from a wide area to use the facilities that include a birthing pool supplied by the Wantage League of Friends. The midwifery team play an essential part in provision of health services.”

Women in Wantage have been giving birth at the unit since the 1980s.

On average, staff at the unit deliver 100 babies a year.

Wantage mayor Charlotte Dickson said: “I am very pleased that it can reopen because the MLU offers a fantastic service.”

OUHT deputy head of midwifery Bev Bennett said: “The unit will be able to support women in labour from November 26.”

OUHT also runs midwifery-led units at community hospitals in Wallingford and at the Spires Unit at Oxford’s JR Hospital.

Births are currently suspended at its unit in Chipping Norton while a review into working practices is carried out.