Fifty midwives are facing the axe at Bolton, as part of 500 proposed health staff redundancies and an uncertain future for its A and E unit. On Tuesday Princess Anne arrives to open an upgraded maternity unit in Bolton – but will there be any midwives left to deliver the babies?
Already, the new maternity unit has been dealing with 40% more births than commissioners expected, despite being warned of this by local midwives. Women in labour have not always had a midwife each as promised. Why then, campaigners and unions are asking, is the hospital even considering making fifty midwives redundant?
When Salford's maternity unit at Salford Royal Hospital (Hope) was closed last year, Bolton's unit was one of those named where women were expected to be transferred, alongside St Mary's and North Manchester. With the Salford birth rate rising, the pressure on Bolton and the other units will be greater than ever at a time when the service looks like it will be reduced. Both midwives and Salford MP Hazel Blears warned at the time what would happen (see here and see here).
It's not just the midwives who are facing redundancy –Bolton NHS Trust is facing 500 compulsory redundancies - 20 doctors, 149 nurses and midwives, 93 therapists, 193 medical secretaries and ward clerks, and 45 estates staff. This is 12.5% of the total workforce at the Trust. Yet Prime Minister David Cameron keeps repeating his "No NHS cuts" mantra.
Bolton is getting absolutely battered – with the Accident and Emergency department at the Hospital also under threat, along with those at Bury, Wigan, Tameside, North Manchester, Trafford and Rochdale. Salford's A and E will be only one of five departments in the whole of Greater Manchester.
As campaigners have pointed out, "For every extra 10 miles and ambulance has to travel to take you to an A&E, there is a 20% increased chance of dying." (see the full document click here)
As Princess Anne rides in on Tuesday to open the new upgraded maternity unit at Royal Bolton Hospital, nurses, staff and campaigners aim to let her know in no uncertain terms of the consequences of slashing medical staff for those most in need. Salford people are being urged to join them…
Demo Against NHS Cuts
Tuesday 22nd January 12-1pm
Royal Bolton Hospital, Plodder Lane entrance BL4 0JR
For more details on the campaign to save Bolton's A&E plus this demo on Tuesday see the campaign website http://www.saveboltonaccidentandemergency.org.uk/index.html
To sign the online petition to save Royal Bolton Hospital – click here
To sign the online petition to save Greater Manchester's A&E depts – click here
And to download petitions to take around your mates and work colleagues – click here
* To see how Government double dealing led to the closure of Hope Maternity Unit, originally traded for Pendlebury Children's Hospital, and starring Ian Stewart, see previous Salford Star article - click here
UPDATE 22nd JANUARY
This morning Princess Anne cancelled her visit to Royal Bolton Hospital, citing `logistical' reasons. Could this be that it was just too embarrassing for her to open a maternity ward, where fifty midwives face the axe? In other words, did she bottle it?