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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Add your voice to hospital campaign

WHO knows what the new year will bring – no Olympics or Jubilees to take our minds off the economic uncertainty that is still hanging over us like a bad cloud that just won’t go away.

EM Darren McSweeney
Darren McSweeney

There’s a royal baby due though – there’s something for us all to celebrate and look forward to.

This brings me to my first rant of the year – not royals, but babies – or, more to the point, the process of bringing babies safely into this world.

Last week I attended a packed meeting of concerned locals to discuss how to raise awareness and campaign against any proposed downgrading of the maternity services at our local hospital. The public consultation has commenced on the future of the services at FGH, with a spotlight firmly being thrown on the maternity unit. While the trust, GP consortiums, management bodies or whoever it is actually calls the shots – there’s the first challenge, I’ve only had a brief insight and it’s a highly complicated affair – have yet to make any formal statement of their plans, the writing is on the wall. There has already been talk of downgrading the maternity unit to a midwife-led, rather than a consultant-led unit

Senior figures within the trust have already suggested this as an option, while denying that any decision has yet been made.

Both of my children were delivered by caesarian section at FGH – the first in an emergency, the second somewhat more planned, but still needing a week in the Special Care Baby Unit.

That first emergency had me running, yes running, behind my wife’s trolley from the labour ward to the operating theatre. It was all pretty dramatic – now, as much as I like helicopters, I would much rather settle for that short run than a helicopter dash to Lancaster or beyond! A helicopter is a real option that could face many parents in a similar situation if these plans go ahead. If there were a few a day (which does happen) then I might retrain as an air traffic controller, they’re going to need one in Dalton Lane!

The second one, being a somewhat healthy sounding 12lb 8oz, had us living in SCBU for a week, as he only had the lungs of a normal sized chap. Now imagine having to make that cot-side vigil 50 miles from home? It’s not something I’d like to wish on anyone, it’s a traumatic enough time in your home town with family to support you.

So what can be done? Local mum and wife of our MP, Mandy Telford, has organised a group – “Save FGH maternity unit” – and has a brilliant idea for getting the voices of local people heard on this. Grab your smartphone, make a short little video of yourself, only needs to be seconds – saying why YOU want to save the service and email it to her at SaveFGHMaternity@gmail.com – the group are aiming for 1,000 voices, I’m off to record mine now!

Have your say

Well said Steve. The Maternity Unit is only the first in a long line they are taking away from FGH. THEY CERTAINLY DO KNOW. Only bodies left at FGH will be the army of managers, directors, assistant chiefs, etc. etc. the vital people in the NHS!!!!!!!

Posted by in the know on 10 January 2013 at 20:08

I worry for the whole of FGH, not just the maternity facilities. With the level of cuts required to meet the funding reduction we could be left with a cottage hospital.

Posted by Steve Evans on 8 January 2013 at 08:31

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