Farron urges action to encourage mothers to choose Helme Chase
South Lakes MP Tim Farron has written to health bosses in Cumbria, asking them to work together to encourage mothers to choose the Helme Chase maternity unit in Kendal.
Recent figures obtained under a freedom of information act from the MP's office found that since Kendal's maternity unit at Helme Chase switched to an on-call system overnight and at weekends in 2014, along with the closing of the postnatal ward, the number of babies being born at the ward has dropped by almost 50%.
In letters written to the Chief Executive of the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust and to GP surgeries in the South Lakes, the Cumbrian MP said he wanted to encourage mothers to choose the "fantastic" facility.
Tim said: "I am very concerned about the sharp drop in the number of babies being born at Helme Chase over the past two years, and I am determined that we work together as a community to turn that around.
"The figures clearly show that local mothers have been put off from using the ward, and I am still firm in my view that the decision to downgrade the maternity services should be reversed to stop this worrying trend.
"Despite the changes, the maternity ward at Helme Chase remains a fantastic, safe, facility, with incredible staff who take great care of all mothers who work there.
"Whilst the unit cannot cater for every mum-to-be, it is capable of supporting at least twice as many births as are currently being delivered.
"The experience of mothers and babies at Helme Chase is second to none in terms of personal care, that's why we should be encouraging those mum's for whom it is appropriate to consider choosing Helme Chase.
"Helme Chase runs the risk of becoming a neglected service unless action is taken now to give it a real boost.
"That's why I've written not only to the Trust, but to every GP surgery in the constituency to see how we can all work together to encourage mothers to choose Helme Chase, allowing Westmorland babies to be born in Westmorland."