East Cheshire NHS Trust Board have extended the suspension of maternity services at Macclesfied until Spring 2021. They did this at their virtual Board meeting on 3rd September, with no access for members of the public even as observers, and the crucial report on the future of birthing services at Macclesfield Hospital only published hours before – ruling out any opportunity for written questions.
So, the fears of Tatton Liberal Democrats have been justified. Jonathan Smith says:
“With each month of closure that passes, it looks increasingly unlikely that a full maternity service for local mothers at their local hospital will come back.”
The Trust makes it clear that one of the main reasons for the decision is the risk of not having enough anaesthetists available this autumn and winter. Jonathan is not happy about how this situation has arisen:
“The report exposes just how devastating an impact on local health services has been the growing ‘locumisation’ of the medical workforce. I was staggered to read that East Cheshire Trust has a team of anaesthetists who are locums. In other words, it seems that they have no salaried anaesthetists, no guarantee of capacity in this crucial medical specialism, from day-to-day. Whilst the Trust will blame the coronavirus crisis for the effective closedown of birthing services, this is likely to be seen by local families as a convenient cover story.”
Tatton residents Janet and Oliver Romain’s two young boys were both born via emergency caesarean at Macclesfield. They are dismayed at the decision to extend the suspension of Macclesfield’s birthing services for as further six months. Janet said:
“Pregnant women are already vulnerable due to Covid-19. I am worried that scattering birthing services far and wide will lead to more anxiety and worse outcomes for women and babies. It is essential that maternity services are fully restored at the soonest opportunity.”