DEMONSTRATE AGAINST THE CLOSURE OF HOPE MATERNITY UNIT
ON WEDNESDAY MORNING…
"It won't be good enough for people to say `I didn't know they were taking our maternity unit away from us and we can't have babies born in Salford any more'…We should do something, not just talk about it! Everybody in Salford should know this is the last big push!" Former Salford MP Ian Stewart
The whole health world has turned against Salford's right to have babies born in our city. The Health Authority, the Doctors…even Liz Stevens, the head of the midwives union RCM, have approved a report recommending the closure of the Maternity Unit at Hope Hospital, now known as Salford Royal Hospital.
Set against these so-called experts is virtually the whole population of Salford, our MPs and Council.
For months and years campaigners, including local midwives and nurses, have been fighting the closure. They have written detailed reports explaining why the unit should stay open in terms of safety, in terms of population increase, in terms of people just not being able to get to other units which could be as far away as Stockport or Warrington. Their arguments have been completely ignored…
…And now the final insult – the public has actually been banned from the `Strategic Health Authority' meeting where the final decision on Hope's fate is being made on Wednesday morning, at Gateway House in Manchester. The SHA states very strangely that... "publicity would be prejudicial to the public interest"
A report seen by the Salford Star, produced by the National Clinical Advisory Team (NCAT) which assessed Hope's closure against the new Coalition Government's four `criteria' (see here for further details) states that it is "satisfied that MiB [the ironically named Making It Better team] has properly evaluated the clinical evidence and had consulted widely with many stakeholders and interested parties… The reviewers are clear in their belief that the proposed configuration has been carefully considered and will be advantageous to all concerned."
From all the evidence, virtually the whole city of Salford has said `Don't close Hope!' - `advantageous to all concerned'?
"DISGUSTING", "APPALLING", "PATHETIC"… AN INSULT TO THE PEOPLE OF SALFORD"
Salford midwives involved in the Keep Hope Maternity Open campaign have called the report "disgusting", "appalling" and "pathetic", while campaigners say the report is "an insult to the people of Salford"…
At a meeting of the campaign last Saturday, Salford MP Hazel Blears said she was "disappointed" with the health authority and the fact that there was no new consultation with Salford's community…
"How can you take into account people's views if you're not having a fresh consultation?" she argued and cast doubt on the whole Government review of the original decision to close Hope, adding that "to me, there was an element of pre-judging before the review."
All that might be left at Hope is a small midwife led unit, but campaigners cast doubt even on this surviving…
"Midwife led units are always being threatened with closure, they're an easy target in the current climate" said a midwife "They will do a u-turn and say it's not working."
Even Hazel Blears, who originally campaigned for the smaller unit, said that "there might be some issues around it…"
`CHILDREN MIGHT DIE'
Ian Stewart went further, insisting that children might die unless there is a "24:7 full maternity paediatric provision" at Hope rather than a small unit. For him it's a proper full maternity unit or nothing...
"In every maternity unit in the country whenever a child has to be moved to a specialist hospital there has always been deaths of very, very ill babies between general hospital and the specialist hospital and that's a fact" he said "What we know is that if families from Salford have to go to Bolton or St Mary's the logic is very straight forward and simple – the longer it takes to get your baby to a specialist hospital, the more chance there is of children dying or even mothers dying, so you have to be realistic about this.
"You have to ask…`Is an inferior service the wrong thing to provide?' Because it's stopping you from doing the logical thing, which is taking the child straight to a specialist facility" he added "It might not need it but by stopping off at a normal facility that isn't 24:7 and doesn't have the specialist clinicians, you might find that you should have gone straight to the specialist.
"There's nothing wrong with specialist centres of excellence but there should be the provision of a minimum safe level 24:7 unit as there was intended to be in Salford" he concluded "I've argued for that since 1996 and I will continue to argue for it…
"Everybody in Salford should know this is the last big push – it's either speak up for it, act for it. Or lose it!"
IT'S NOW OR NEVER FOR SALFORD BABIES!
Demonstrate Against The Closure of Hope Maternity Unit
Wednesday 1st December 2010
Gateway House, 3 Piccadilly Place, Manchester
Meet 9:30am outside Piccadilly Station (near post box at the top of the ramp).
Bring placards, banners etc.
Further details of the campaign at www.keephopematernityopen.com