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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Move a big shock

YES, that was me. On your tellybox last week! Looking like a “right shifty geezer” as my wife described it. I was actually frozen, trying to stop my teeth from chattering, hence the grimacing look.

EM Darren McSweeney
Darren McSweeney

I shouldn’t have felt the cold though, as in my blood was nothing short of boiling…

In case you missed my fleeting appearance on Granada Reports, I was there with a group of brave parents, kids and other supporters, providing a very windswept backdrop to our MP John Woodcock as he was interviewed by Amy Welch in response to the shock announcement about Furness General Hospital’s maternity unit.

Having become involved in a campaign organised by John’s wife, Mandy, a few weeks back, I have become fully aware of the threat to consultant-led services at Furness General. I’ve thrown myself into the campaign, offering my video editing services to the team as they aspire to collect 1,000 voices in support of the cause. With more than 400 videos already collected, edited and posted, I’ve had a real insight into the feelings of people locally. It’s powerful stuff, it’s made a real impact on me.

The decision to remove the consultants and close the SCBU unit came as a complete surprise – we are supposed to be in the middle of a consultation period – I’ve yet to see any sign of consultation, other than an email saying that it’s happening. – really? Is this some new kind of consultation? You remove the service and see how loud people shout? Sir David Henshaw, the current interim chairman of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, moved to try to reassure the public this was a temporary measure. He wasn’t reassuring enough for me though, nor do I suspect for many others. Sir David has already spoken of “helicopter bridges” to get pregnant mums from FGH to Lancaster, so the removal of consultants has already crossed his mind once or twice, I would suggest. I worry this is the downgrading of FGH through a smokescreen – they are citing a staffing crisis as the reason for this action.

Allow me to play out a (hopefully) imaginary scenario taking place later this week at FGH – after the consultant care and SCBU are removed tomorrow. An expectant mum gets into difficulties with the birth of her baby – it’s decided she needs consultant specialist care, there is time to get them to Lancaster by ambulance. As she’s in labour, the midwife from FGH travels with her. Seventy minutes there in traffic, delivery, 70 minutes back. The midwife is away from Barrow for maybe four hours. An hour after they leave for Lancaster, another mum has problems, same story, ambulance, midwife, four hours. FGH is two midwives down for most of the shift – and the trust is doing this due to a staffing crisis?

Have your say

I just wish you had been on the Jeremy Bile show Darren, I would have paid good money to hear him say to you, "Get Off My Stage"? Along with all the other wasters that fill these Columns, I looked at the number of people that Reply to these Columnists remarks? at present, they are receiving 1 reply each, Is it really worth it, I dont think so, Yes it is an Important Issue, but I dont really care about you wanting your face on my Telly, or for that matter the Evening Mail Either, Give is some News, that way, More People will buy the Paper, Simples!

Posted by A Reader. on 5 February 2013 at 14:59

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