The hard fought battle to maintain a maternity unit in Lichfield is almost
won with the decision last night of the Burntwood Lichfield & Tamworth
Primary Care Trust to include the unit in the proposed new hospital.
Michael Fabricant says "I congratulate the Board of the Trust for making
this bold decision and overturning the previous reservations of the old
South Staffordshire Health Authority which has been abolished.
"I have no doubt that if health managers had continued to listen to the so
called ‘business case’, we would have lost both our maternity unit and the
dialysis unit as well as 20 beds from our 52 bed unit for this was the
original plan. It was the bravery of midwives standing up to the Health
Authority and the dedication of people from Lichfield and Burntwood by
marching through the streets of Lichfield which made this proposal
untenable. The cynicism of the Health Authority announcing these closures
just one day after the General Election last year was staggering!
"But we are not through the woods yet. We still need a commitment of a
further £3 million from Whitehall and I will continue to press the Health
Secretary and Prime Minister over this. The rest of the £11.8 million will
come the sale of land and from the Regional Health Authority. Meanwhile,
we must remain vigilant. We must ensure that there will be no loss of beds
and I will continue to fight for the preservation of day surgery in
Lichfield which we are scheduled to lose. We must also ensure that there is
adequate car parking provision at the hospital site and room to expand the
hospital with a growing population. The closure of Hammerwich hospital also
needs addressing. Meanwhile, Alan Snuggs (Chief Executive of the Primary
Care Trust) has told me it is his aim not to charge for car parking on the
new hospital site in order to minimise any disruption to residents adjacent
to the proposed new hospital. I am grateful to him for this.
"This change in policy is a first class example of local people working
together towards a common aim – and succeeding".