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Saturday, 30 August 2014

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Relief as Furness General Hospital bosses reveal temporary transfer is cancelled

EXPECTANT mums can breathe a sigh of relief after the transfer of Furness General Hospital’s consultant-led maternity unit and Special Care Baby Unit from Barrow to Lancaster was called off.

Last night the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust confirmed the temporary move, due to be actioned from 9am yesterday, had been cancelled after crisis talks resolved a staffing crisis.

The trust spent all yesterday negotiating with GP commissioners and bosses from the wider NHS, having received heavy criticism over its decision.

Mum Chrissy Pickering, 26, from Ormsgill in Barrow, has two children who were both born premature.

She said: “When I read the news I could feel this huge wave of relief, but I don’t want anyone to think we have won this battle.

“I have had my premature babies and I have experienced the wonderful care at FGH, but I have also had to give birth out of the area when I was transferred to Preston, and it was horrendous.”

Barrow MP John Woodcock, who demanded action to address the crisis in Parliament yesterday, said: “It’s great news but I feel so sorry for the expectant women who have been put through such dreadful worry over the past few days.”

Mr Woodcock said that while he welcomed the news, the longer term problem with the relocation of services still needed to be addressed.

“The whole issue has left the local health service facing real questions over the management of our hospital,” he said.

Sir David Henshaw, interim chairman of UHMBT, issued a statement last night saying: “The trust and the wider NHS have been working hard and have pulled together to assist with the staffing issues in the Special Care Baby Unit at Furness General Hospital.

“We are pleased to announce that, as a result of this team effort, we have been able to secure additional experienced, qualified neonatal nurses in order to safely staff SCBU at FGH.

“Both SCBU and consultant led maternity services are running as before and women should attend as previously advised.”

UHMBT chief executive Jackie Daniel added: “The trust board, together with its NHS partners, will be constantly monitoring the situation and working on robust plans to ensure safe, sustainable staffing levels can be maintained.

“We will keep the public, governors, staff and stakeholders fully informed of any developments.”

Health minister Dan Poulter, himself an obstetrician, yesterday responded to Mr Woodcock’s concerns about the ongoing chaos. Mr Poulter said that, while he believed the decision to move services had been taken in good faith, he shared some of Mr Woodcock’s fears that the temporary move could lead to a permanent one, and warned against health trusts trying to change services by stealth.

Mr Poulter said: “When there are decisions made about changing services, whatever the reasons may be, these decisions can’t be taken in isolation.”

  • Additional reporting by Jonathan Humphries.
Have your say

So pleased Fgh maternity ruling was turned as my daughter went there this am quite concerned about her pregnancy (Wednesday 7 feb) arrived approx 1030/45 and was rushed down for emergency c section. Baby girl delivered 11.27am. Both well and very happy

Posted by Mrs s wilkinson on 6 February 2013 at 22:45

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