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Maternity report does not deliver for Westmorland General - Farron

March 25, 2015 12:10 PM

Tim and the Lib Dems at WGHSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has expressed his surprise that the Falconer review of maternity services hardly mentions the Helme Chase unit and has called the report a 'serious missed opportunity'.

The review was commissioned from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists during autumn 2014 by the Cumbria and North Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups. The 'preferred option' in the report is for four consultant-led maternity units at Carlisle, Whitehaven, Barrow and Lancaster with the immediate development of midwifery-led units alongside them at Carlisle and Lancaster and in the longer term to evaluate the development of the same at Barrow and Whitehaven.

The unit at Westmorland General is not mentioned at all in the recommendations, and among the just eight mentions in a 100 page report the suggestion is made that the current situation where the unit closes overnight and at weekends is permanent despite claims by health bosses that it's temporary and subject to review.

Tim has once again called for health bosses to publically confirm that the changes to staffing at Helme Chase are only temporary.

Tim said: "This is another report created at great cost that doesn't tackle the main issue for parents in South Lakeland. We hoped for a strong steer that a 24 hour maternity unit being reinstated in Kendal, sadly yet again local clinicians have overlooked that which is incredibly disappointing.

"The only section of the report that I do think was helpful was the section that links into the Kirkup Review. I hope that we can make maternity services at Furness General safer and this is another small step in the long journey to make that happen."