Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/450/5381
Romsey says: "Save Our Birthing Centre"
AROUND FIFTY mothers, children and campaigners demonstrated in Romsey on 22 July against Southampton University Hospital's Trust plans to close their local NHS birthing centre, along with birthing units in Hythe and Lymington.
The Trust plans to replace them with a new unit for the entire South-west. The socialist spoke to Barbara Wyant, an antenatal teacher and one of the campaign organisers, who explained the problems created by the closures:
"Women in labour can't travel long distances - putting them at risk without local birthing centres. The relationships women build up with local midwives will be lost. Romsey also provides 24-hour post-natal recuperation support, which will be lost if it is closed."
She pointed to the hypocrisy of a government whose National Service Framework emphasises community care and choice but whose under-funding leads to the closure of local services.
The Trust claims that the Romsey unit is underused, but campaigners pointed out that little money goes into promoting out-of-hospital care, with GPs often sending mothers straight to the Princess Anne Hospital's maternity unit in Southampton. This unit already accommodates 1,000 women a year and will be put under more strain by the closures.
BRYONY DOUGLAS, another organiser, had little doubt that: "It's purely for financial reasons". She's right. Facing a projected £26 million deficit by the end of the financial year, the Trust is cutting 564 jobs across Southampton with 100 forced redundancies.
Socialist Party members spoke to demonstrators and handed out leaflets putting forward our call for a national demonstration and industrial action, advertising the meeting in Birmingham on Saturday.
We will be working with this and other campaigns to build a united front against attacks across Southampton and Hampshire on the NHS, education and council services.
A SUCCESSFUL lobby called by local Socialist Party members handed a 1,000+ signature petition into Derby NHS Trust committing the Trust and City Council to keeping McKeith nursery open. Even though the local paper exaggerated the threat, the victory was greeted with satisfaction by the lobby.
The petitioning raised an avalanche of issues. Derbyshire Royal Infirmary/ Nottingham University hospitals have 60 newly-qualifying, but unplaced, nurses. Senior nurses complained of running a skeleton staff - any worse over the summer and it would endanger patients. Nurses angrily expressed worries about a day when five wards began the day shift at a local hospital without intravenous antibiotics.
NHS WORKERS in the market town of Ormskirk, Lancashire, protested against cuts and redundancies outside the town's hospital on 21 July. The protest was a lively affair. At lunchtime hundreds of students from the nearby high school shouted "Beep" as they went past, in an attempt to vie with the horns of passing cars!
Over 80 redundancies are threatened, and the UNISON branch at the hospital will consider strike action if the protest does not result in a change of position from NHS bosses.
In The Socialist 27 July 2006:
Invasion of Lebanon
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party campaigns