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MP says Helme Chase decision must be reviewed

December 12, 2014 2:21 PM

Tim and the Lib Dems at WGHSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has called on hospital bosses to publicly confirm that changes to staffing at Kendal's Helme Chase maternity unit are only temporary. Tim said it would be 'intolerable for local mums' for this to continue as a long term solution.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust have recently changed their shift patterns across maternity services which means that Helme Chase closes overnight with a midwife on call to open it when needed. The change has been made to use midwives more flexibly across Morecambe Bay as an interim measure while a review of maternity services is conducted.

Tim has asked NHS bosses to agree to review their plan after six months and hold a public consultation on any future plans. He also met Dr Tony Falconer to discuss this and other maternity issues. Dr Falconer is the Past President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and is lead assessor for the independent maternity review.

In 2000, Tim and the Westmorland Gazette led a campaign to protect the unit. They were successful and saved the vital service for local people.

Tim said: "In recent days I have been contacted by lots of parents, mums to be and others who are deeply concerned about these changes. I have some big concerns about these changes and I have made them known to the Chief Executive of the Trust and I will keep doing so! I worry about this new service, especially at night.

"I have pushed the trust to make sure the unit stays open and that women will continue to be able to give birth at Helme Chase 24 hours a day, seven days a week. My children were born at Helme Chase and I will do everything I can to protect it."