Fight to save maternity unit attracts 1000 names

Photo: David Hurst'Melanie and Jason Webster of The Brookes, Chorley, with their children, rear from left, Samantha, Job, Jacob, Elizabeth and Meredith, front from left, Joel, Jude, Rebecca and Jarom
Photo: David Hurst'Melanie and Jason Webster of The Brookes, Chorley, with their children, rear from left, Samantha, Job, Jacob, Elizabeth and Meredith, front from left, Joel, Jude, Rebecca and Jarom

MORE than 1,000 people have now joined a campaign to save Chorley’s maternity unit.

But, the pregnant woman behind the crusade, Melanie Webster fears the group’s concerns are falling on deaf ears.

The mum-of-nine, who is due to give birth to her 10th child in November, has written to everyone from the Prime Minister to the Chief Executive of Lancashire Teaching Trust and the head of midwifery.

However, she claims the future of the unit is still under real threat and that dwindling birthing figures could result in the eventual closure of the facility.

She said: “We have now hit the 1,000 mark on the campaign which is absolutely brilliant, but we still don’t seem to be getting listened to.

“I wrote to the Prime Minister, David Cameron to make him aware of the situation in Chorley and ask for his help, but haven’t had a reply or even anything to acknowledge that his office has received the letter.

“I’ve also been writing to Tony Curtis who is the chief executive of Lancashire Teaching Trust and Rhona Hartley who is the head of midwifery, but their stance is always the same.”Melanie launched the campaign after midwives from Chorley were re-deployed to the Royal Preston Hospital and post natal care was withdrawn.

It means that there isn’t a midwife based on the site and that the unit is only opened when a woman goes into labour.

New mothers must also leave within six hours of giving birth or they will be transferred to Preston for post natal care.

Melanie added: “It just doesn’t seem fair that the people who will be most affected aren’t being allowed a voice.

“The service provided at Chorley was first class, but the new measures mean that less and less women are opting to give birth there.There is a strict criteria in place to be able to give birth there in the first place and most want some level of post natal care so less and less women will be choosing Chorley which is frightening for the long-term picture.”

Melanie is set to meet with Lancashire County Council cabinet member for health and wellbeing, Val Wilson this week and is determined that she won’t give up.

Rhona Hartley, Head of Midwifery and Nursing at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have continued to stay in contact with Melanie and have listened to her concerns and the concerns of her group.

“We remain committed to providing women with a full range of maternity services including midwifery-led care where it is appropriate and safe to do so.”