FABRICANT BACKS EXPERT MATERNITY GROUP FINDINGS WHICH SLAMS SOUTH STAFFORDSHIRE HEALTH AUTHORITY REPORT
Michael Fabricant has backed the "Early Response" by the Expert Maternity Working Group which has exposed bias and cant in the document "Community Hospital Provision in South Staffordshire" published by the South Staffordshire Health Authority. In particular, the response has identified a number of biased interpretations of the facts by the Health Authority.
"The Expert Maternity Working Group has exposed the Report from the Health Authority for what it is: a cost cutting exercise", says Michael Fabricant. "I don’t particularly blame the Health Authority as they are having to work with fewer resources, but they should come clean with the public. Claiming that the Maternity Unit just isn’t used enough is a factual nonsense. The Maternity Unit in Lichfield offers services unavailable elsewhere. While Caesarean and induced birth rates are the highest in the western world – presumably in order to get mothers in and out of hospital as quickly as possible like a factory production line – the Lichfield Maternity Unit offers the nearest thing to a natural, home childbirth. This has to be the best option for mothers and their babies.
"The Working Group’s analysis now casts doubts on other findings in the Health Authority’s report including those on the Renal (dialysis) Unit, Minor Injuries Unit, and Out Patients facilities at the Victoria Hospital in Lichfield let alone the future of the Hammerwich and Barton Hospitals", adds Mr Fabricant.
In a letter to the Chief Executive of the South Staffordshire Health Authority, Brian Aird, Doctor Gerbo Huisman of the Expert Maternity Working Group wrote:-
"The Group has looked in detail at the chapter in the SSR document about Maternity Care , which deals mainly with the future of the Maternity Unit of the Victoria Hospital Lichfield. Members have been disappointed in the biased way in which many of the issues have been presented. Concern has been expressed about erroneous information contained in some of the key paragraphs. Specially the "key question for comment" , (which suggests that £400,000 could be saved by closing the unit) is clearly based on incorrect information, and could well be misleading to those taking part in the discussion.
"For this reason we felt that it was necessary to put together an "early response" to deal with some of the main areas of bias, and to point out where the information contained in the SSR document is not correct. Members of the Working Group feel strongly that a discussion about a service which is of such an importance to so many women, should be based on balanced and accurate information. We do not feel this is being provided by the SSR document in its current format."