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Call for mass march on maternity

by Mary Graham

Peter Carroll
Peter Carroll


Calls for men, women and children to join a mass march to Downing Street have been made by a hospital campaigner.

Peter Carroll, the Lib Dem prospective candidate for Maidstone and the Weald has been fighting a decision to concentrate the majority of maternity services at the new Pembury Hospital from 2011 onwards.

He has collected around 5,500 signatures on a petition calling for the full range of services, which includes emergency procedures such as casearean sections, to remain in Maidstone. Around 200 letters have also been sent back to him.

A Facebook group on the issue has attracted 3,600 members.

Mr Carroll says he is planning to take all the petitions and letters to Westminster in the third week of November to give to health secretary Andy Burnham in person, or to present to the door of Number 10.

He said: "Everyone is welcome and it would be amazing to see members of MASH [Maidstone Action for Services in Hospital], and members of the public to come with me."

An exact date has not been set, but it is likely to be sometime during the week beginning Monday, November 16.

The Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust who are planning the changes are also facing opposition through Maidstone Council, who asked health bosses to account for the decision.

The council is asking for the trust to provide detailed information on how safe women will be making the journey to Pembury Hospital in labour and figures on how many pregnancies have needed emergency intervention.

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