Jonathan Smith has issued a press statement on Maternity Services at Macclesfield Hospita
“We still need to keep the spot-light on this”, said Jonathan Smith for Tatton Liberal Democrats, following the answers he got to the five questions he raised at the East Cheshire NHS Trust Board meeting on 4th. March, regarding the further extension to the suspension of birthing services at Macclesfield Hospital.
Whilst welcoming the Board’s continuing commitment to restart these vital, local, health services, when safe to do so, Jonathan says that there are reasons to keep up the pressure: “We do not doubt the sincerity of the hospital’s management in wanting this suspension to end, but, on behalf of the families in Eastern Cheshire, we will continue to ensure that full maternity services do not become under threat of a permanent cut, as was a possibility many years ago.”
He went on to comment: “Then, there was no pandemic, but a concerted move within the NHS to centralise services, meaning longer journeys for mothers and their families. Now, the Government is intending to take back central, political control of the NHS; so extra vigilance is needed this time around.” The Board has indicated that it expects pressure from COVID-19 to continue for some time to come, so has decided to undertake building works to facilitate the restarting of full maternity services.
However, Jonathan is wary: “First of all, the Board does not envisage birthing services returning to the hospital until at least 1st. October, making the suspension a minimum of 18 months; that’s a long time. Also, whilst the Trust is trying hard to keep staff, the longer this goes on the more difficult it becomes. Lastly, over this period, there is a risk that people begin to forget the value of local provision for mums and babies. As Liberal Democrats we strongly support the principle of ‘as local as possible’ when it comes to health and social care. So, we will continue to campaign for everything to be done to bring birthing services back to East Cheshire.”