Barrow maternity changes ‘have to pass tests’
Last updated at 14:08, Friday, 06 July 2012
ANY attempt to downgrade maternity services at Furness General must meet a strict criteria and if it doesn’t, campaigners can ask Andrew Lansley to reconsider.
The health secretary said any change to services has to meet four tests. It must:
- be of clear clinical benefit
- respond to the needs and wishes of local service commissioners
- respond to strong patient and public engagement
- and maintain and protect patient choice.
Speaking in the Commons after questioning from Barrow MP John Woodcock, Mr Lansley said: “If there are any questions and objections, stating that such a service change does not achieve those aims, his local authority has the right under legislation to refer the matter to the secretary of state for its reconsideration.”
The consultant-led unit at FGH could be downgraded to a maternity-led unit, only dealing with routine births, as part of a review into services. It would mean expectant mothers with complications would be forced to travel 50 miles to Lancaster or north to Carlisle.
Mr Woodcock said: “Health ministers are saying they don’t want to step in to guarantee a full maternity unit at Furness General, but Andrew Lansley has admitted that any decision to downgrade could end up on his desk after all.
“We all need to speak as one on this and send the clear message that families here would be appalled by any proposal that condemns mums-to-be who need a consultant-led birth to a 50-mile trip down the A590 to Lancaster.”
Earlier this week in an interview with the Evening Mail, Mr Lansley said there were “deep seated” issues surrounding maternity care in the area and he did not want to “interfere” with the decisions being made.
Mr Woodcock added: “If the secretary of state really believes that people will accept ministers standing back from the consequences of their decisions, will he hear from families in my constituency who are going to be devastated if, after all the turmoil of which he is well aware and after the forthcoming review, they are forced to travel for an hour and for 50 miles to receive consultant-led maternity services?”
First published at 13:32, Friday, 06 July 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
so the maternity services a FGH are deemed to be below standard? what a stupid idea it would be to down grade the service! surely they should be trying to improve standards rather than meet the current assumed poor service. As for the A590, I don't like travelling on it on a good day, nevermind being in labour! If this plan is implemented the trust and the government will have blood on their hands.....