Home   Kent   News   Article

Minister welcomes campaign to keep maternity services at Maidstone

Maidstone Hospital
Maidstone Hospital

By Angela Cole


Health minister Anne Milton said today she applauded the campaign to keep women's and children's services at Maidstone Hospital - but stopped short of saying whether they would stay or not.

Mrs Milton, herself a former nurse, was responding to a debate secured by Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant (Con) on the future of maternity services at Maidstone, held at Westminster Hall, which is inside the Houses of Parliament.

Audio: Tracey Crouch MP on the effect of the maternity move on Medway

Tracey Crouch
Tracey Crouch

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has agreed that a consultant-led unit can open at the new Pembury Hospital next year, but campaigners are still fighting to keep a full service at Maidstone as well.

Mrs Grant was joined by Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch (Con, pictured right) in putting the case for keeping services in the County Town.

Mrs Milton reiterated the new criteria which Mr Lansley had said reconfiguration plans must satisfy, which includes having the support of GP commissioners.

A survey by campaign group MASH recently found 97 per cent of GPs did not agree with the plans. Mrs Grant also had with her letters from 100 GPs opposed to the plans.

She told Mrs Grant: "The new government is determined that local views should be heard and local concerns should be taken seriously.

Helen Grant (Con)
Helen Grant (Con)

"I know the Secretary of State will be looking carefully at what the trust is proposing to do to allay those concerns."

She added: "I applaud my honourable friend's determination to campaign for the very best hospital services."

She said Mr Lansley would still have the final say at the end of September, when he receives the local assessment of concerns he has requested.

Mrs Grant told her: "I believe we have clearly demonstrated in my constituency that local GPs are strongly opposed to this reconfiguration plan."

Miss Crouch said the plans affected areas in her constituency and could lead to extra pressure on the Medway Maritime hospital. "The Maritime is well prepared for an increase in capacity but increased pressure on the maternity unit could lead to further losses or fatalities."

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More