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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Playground campaign to save Furness General Hospital maternity unit

PLAYGROUNDS have been turned into battlegrounds in the fight to protect maternity services.

Parents taking their children to school have been busy recording their messages for the Thousand Voices campaign, set up after fears were raised that Barrow’s birthing unit could be downgraded from being consultant-led to midwifery-led.

People are being asked to make videos of themselves speaking in support of the Furness General Hospital maternity unit and upload them to a dedicated YouTube site.

Campaigners are this week offering a helping hand by visiting Furness infant schools and children’s centres to film mums and dads themselves.

On Tuesday parents at Greengate Infant School took their turn.

Parent Paula Moore, 30, of Langdale Grove, Barrow, who has had five babies at FGH, said: “All of mine were routine births but my god daughter, she was born at 24 weeks. I know everything her mum, my best friend, went through.

“She also had a baby at 26 weeks, and needed similar care then, so it’s something very close to my heart because they wouldn’t be here otherwise.”

Fellow mum-of-five, Kerry Thompson, had four of her children at FGH.

Her eldest daughter arrived eight weeks early and needed specialist care, and she had to have consultant input during her pregnancy with her youngest child.

The 35-year-old, of Westway, Barrow, said: “I kept getting water infections and other bits and pieces, and had a few false starts in labour as a result.

“There was absolutely no way you could’ve got to Lancaster and back. I had four children, my husband’s disabled, it would’ve been absolutely traumatic.”

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, which runs FGH, said a review of all its services is ongoing and no decisions on any potential changes have been made.

The trust, which needs to save £50m over the next five years has said it is the county’s commissioning GPs who will decide which services it should provide.

The public will be given the change to shape the plans and have their say on the final options.

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