"The secretary of State at the time, Frank Dobson, agreed formally that beds at Hope Hospital Maternity Unit would be protected" Ian Stewart
Almost 15 years ago it was proposed that Salford should get a new Children's Hospital. It was to be sited in Stott Lane, right across the road from what was then called Hope Hospital (now Salford Royal Hospital) and was set to replace the old Pendlebury Children's Hospital on Hospital Road.
The bid failed, and, instead, the Children's Hospital was amalgamated into Manchester's St Mary's Hospital, which opened last year. When it was announced that Pendlebury was shutting, there was no great campaign to keep it open by Salford's Labour Council, nor any other organisation.
Now we can reveal the reason – it was traded in to secure the future of Hope Hospital's Maternity Unit…which is expected to be closed by the Strategic Health Authority at a meeting tomorrow morning (see here).
Former Salford and Eccles MP, Ian Stewart, told a meeting of the Keep Hope Maternity Unit Open campaign last Saturday of the agreement, made with the last Labour Government.
"Because the removal of the Children's Hospital to Manchester would have a very significant affect on families and children in Salford, the Secretary of State at the time, Frank Dobson, agreed formally that beds at Hope Hospital Maternity Unit would be protected" he told the Salford Star later "There was even an agreed system for that."
The system involved the transfer from Trafford's Hospital of maternity beds deemed `clinically unviable' to Hope Hospital's unit…
"Those beds and a number of other beds throughout other hospitals in Greater Manchester meant that there were approximately 10-12 beds that could have kept a 24:7 maternity unit at Hope" explained Ian Stewart "That was the deal. A formal deal."
The problem came, he added, when the MP for Trafford campaigned to keep the beds in the area and won the argument, following a review.
"The outcome was that Trafford didn't lose its beds, consequently there was no domino effect around the Manchester area and the beds that would have secured Hope's future didn't appear" said Stewart "That's where the real problems started…
"I spoke to Frank Dobson before the General Election" he added "And Frank's view was that no subsequent secretary of state should have been able to overturn an agreement made by a secretary of state like that. So as far as I'm concerned the current government should honour that agreement. I've been consistent with that since 1996..."
Salford's Children's Hospital was traded in exchange for a full Maternity Unit at Hope Hospital. That was formal agreement. And that agreement is about to be broken by a decision at tomorrow morning's Strategic Health Authority meeting, proposing to shut down a full Maternity Unit at Hope..
"All this is history now" says Ian Stewart "The important thing now is that parents, families, politicians…every Salford citizen should be mobilising, voicing their opinion and doing something about this. As many people as possible should attend the lobby of the Strategic Health authority on Wednesday morning."
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 see Last Chance For Salford Babies click here…