MPs' delight as local maternity services saved

December 13, 2006 1:49 PM
Mark in chamber

Mark lobbying for our local Health Service in Parliament

Local Lib Dem MPs Mark Hunter and Andrew Stunell say they are relieved that threats to maternity services at Stepping Hill hospital have been shelved by health bosses.

Earlier in the year, NHS managers from across Greater Manchester launched a consultation on the future of health services for Stepping Hill and the wider region. Maternity services in Stockport were not threatened by the proposals at that time. In recent weeks, however, the MPs learned that the Strategic Health Authority which covers Stockport had devised a new set of proposals which would have led to the loss of the current 24 hour maternity and specialist services at the hospital.

Mr Stunell and Mr Hunter immediately lodged formal objections with the Strategic Health Authority and the plans were dropped days later. The existing range of maternity services at Stepping Hill will therefore remain in place.

Said Mark Hunter, "This maternity unit is the second busiest in Greater Manchester, with some 3,500 births per year, including most of those from residents in our two constituencies, which between them cover the southern and eastern parts of Stockport borough. Any cuts in those services would clearly have a devastating effect on local people."

"It has become clear over recent weeks and months that the NHS nationally is in financial crisis and many services are under threat. Cutting maternity provision in our area, though, would have been disastrous. The shelving of these plans is most certainly the right result for families in our area and further a-field."

Added Mr Stunell, "I'm glad that common sense appears to have won the day. To lose the 24 hour service and with it the provision of specialist obstetrics and paediatric services would not only impact on the maternity service, but also immediately put at risk the specialist Children's Unit which is on the same site."

"The loss of these services and its knock-on effects would have been a severe blow to the NHS across the whole of Stockport so I am glad we were able to support our local health Trust in safeguarding their future." ENDS

What would you like to do next?