Barrow's maternity unit will not be taken away 'by the back door', minister says
Last updated at 15:19, Wednesday, 13 February 2013
A HEALTH minister has told campaigners Barrow's maternity unit will not be taken away 'by the back door'.
Health minister Dan Poulter gave the assurance at a meeting in Whitehall arranged by Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock in the wake of the row over aborted plans to transfer the special care baby unit from Furness General Hospital because of high staff sickness levels.
Representatives of local mums and GPs also stressed the dangers of transporting patients 50 miles down the A590 in an ambulance if maternity or accident and emergency provision were moved from Barrow to Lancaster.
And the minister was urged to step in to establish a genuinely independent public inquiry so lessons can be learnt from management failings at Morecambe Bay health trust.
Mandy Telford, who attended the meeting as a representative of the Thousand Voices campaign to save FGH maternity unit, said: "It was very good to get the chance bring this vital issue to national attention so soon after Barrow nearly lost maternity services in the emergency transfer that hospital managers want to carry out.
"The promise of no stealth reconfiguration of services like maternity by the back door is encouraging, but we still have a big job to convince the government not to allow a permanent downgrading of Barrow's maternity unit and other services. That's why everyone needs to join the Thousand Voices campaign and come to our public meeting to have their say on 7 March."
John Woodcock said: "Anxious Furness residents and staff will not rest until we have guarantees on the services we need, but I am grateful that the minister was prepared to listen to local concerns so quickly after I raised the issue with him in parliament last week."
Attending the meeting alongside John and Mandy Telford was James Titcombe, a representative of families campaigning for lessons to be learnt from recent management failings at the Morecambe bay health trust and Mandy Boardman, a Barrow GP involved in commissioning health services on behalf of the public.
First published at 13:00, Tuesday, 12 February 2013
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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Hi, the public meeting is now confirmed for 7th March at the Forum, look out for the leaflets, which will be circulating from today (thurs 14th)If anybody want more details, drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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