Saving Our Children’s NHS Services – Nuneaton
Over recent months news has emerged that my local hospital, George Eliot hospital in Nuneaton, is struggling, really struggling.
In June I was made aware that the Mary Garth ward at the hospital was due to close to save money. The government have ordered £20billion worth of ‘efficiency savings’ to the NHS (I prefer to call them cuts, let’s call a spade a spade) and so hospitals are trying to save money where they can.
Redundancies are part of that process. 257 at the last count. I spoke to a lady 2 weeks ago in town who explained that her daughter, who works at George Eliot hospital, has just had to reapply for her own job. Thankfully she was successful but the whole family have endured months of worry and stress as a result.
More recently than the discovery of redundancies, it emerged that the hospital was considering being managed by a private franchise. I am reliably informed that this will end badly, as it has done at other hospitals.
The other option they are mulling over is to merge with another hospital. There are a few who have been named in the press, this week it was the Heart of England Foundation Trust (HEFT) who were in the headlines of the local paper expressing an interest. They currently run Heartlands Hospital, Solihull Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and the Birmingham Chest Clinic, employing more than 11,000 staff.
Also last week, most shockingly of all, we were told via the local press that the maternity and children’s services are ‘under review’. That means that they are thinking of closing those those services in Nuneaton and moving them to Coventry, including the special care baby unit.
This may not worry some at first glance. It’s just a car ride away some will say, a short bus trip/train ride, and there’s always an ambulance if it’s a very quick birth you might think.
I lived in huddersfield when I gave birth to my youngest child. The maternity services there are split between two hospitals, Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and Calderdale Royal Hospital. That’s a short car ride or bus trip away too. However, in rush hour it can take hours to take that short journey. I opted to have a home birth in Huddersfield because my house was closer to Calderdale hospital than Huddersfield Royal Infirmary so my baby, in my view, would have probably got there faster if anything had gone wrong (babies and mothers are taken to Calderdale because Huddersfield do not have the staff to deal with any kind of emergency in their maternity ward). Thankfully my birth was fine, no complications at all. This isn’t always the case. Maisie Bates was born at Calderdale Royal Hospital after being transfered from Huddersfield Royal Infirmary Her parents blame her death on the fact that Huddersfield couldn’t deal with the emergency and she had to be taken to Halifax. It took them half an hour to get to the hospital, Maisie died because she was starved of oxygen before the emergency Caesarian section, she had to be resuscitated and suffered severe brain damage. There have also been reports of mother giving birth on the way to Calderdale, and I can’t find the story online, but one lady gave birth in a local health centre!
My oldest child was born at George Eliot hospital almost 13 years ago. We were well looked after from my first scan to the day we left together. The staff were all really friendly and patient with me. It was the staff of the same hospital that discovered that same child had glue ear during a hearing test. They referred us to Walsgrave hospital for several gromit operations and finally she had her tonsils and adenoids taken out. She had check ups at George Eliot hospital and without them she wouldn’t be able to hear today. Before her treatment she could hardly hear anything, the doctors were surprised she could speak. It would have cost a fortune if I’d been forced to go all the way to coventry to attend check ups and consultations.
I have a friend who has two children, both have had problems which required medical attention. She has praised the staff of the hospital which treated them both, without George Eliot hospital she says neither of them would have made it. She also had a traumatic birth with her first child, she would have died if she’d given birth in a car, the back of an ambulance on the journey to another hospital.
We don’t want to lose our maternity and children’s services. They have saved the lives of our children, given us wonderful birth experiences and helped our children overcome numerous illnesses and disabilities.
I signed a petition in town today, organised by a local councillor, Barry Longden, which aims to show the strength of feeling in the borough against the proposals to move our services to Coventry.
I was allowed some copies of the petition to distribute to others. Please CLICK HERE to view and print your own copy.
Alternatively you can sign the online petition >> CLICK HERE
The consultation is due to start on December 5th 2011 so please don’t delay.
Whatever your political persuasion, please put it aside. This is important to us and our children. Please oppose the removal of maternity and children’s services from George Eliot hospital, print the petition and urge everyone you know to sign it.
A similar campaign ran in 2007. It was successful and services stayed where they are today. This type of protest does work.