Ahead of tomorrow’s rally at Hope Hospital, Barbara has pledged to continue fighting to retain neonatal and maternity services in Salford.
“I remain very much opposed to the decision to remove these services from Salford, and I hope that the rally is a success. I regret that I cannot be present at the rally on Wednesday, as I have to work at Westminster that day including some important work on Child Poverty that we planned some time ago.
“The neonatal and maternity units are very important for Salford, and very important for my constituents in Worsley. I do believe that the decision made by the local Primary Care Trusts is the wrong decision and I know that local people are strongly against it.”
Barbara has consistently spoken out against the proposals to close the maternity and neonatal units at Hope, which have an excellent reputation and considerable support within the local community.
“Hope delivers a range of specialist services which enable it to support high-risk maternity cases – services which benefit approximately 120 women a year. These services are not found in any other local hospital, which means Salford women would have to travel elsewhere should the proposals go ahead.
"Salford has the lowest level of car ownership in the Greater Manchester area. Travelling to the other locations by public transport is not easy and for a heavily pregnant woman, or one with a small baby, it could be both unpleasant and difficult. The length of journeys needed would be unacceptable for some women.
"Salford has the highest incidence of very low birth weight babies, so to move the unit away would be to deprive local people of a service which they desperately need”.
Retaining these services at Hope would also make sound financial sense:
“Retaining maternity and neonatal inpatient care in Salford is also the best value option; it can be in place within 14 months and costs £1 million less than the other options. Continuing to provide neonatal services at Salford Royal would be as safe and effective as providing them elsewhere, but, crucially, they would be delivered at lower cost, at lower risk and with greater potential for the future.
"Choosing the cheapest and quickest option seems to me to be common sense as it frees up money which can be spent on other improvements to the health service.”