by Mary Graham
A 17-mile hike from Maidstone to Pembury while pushing a pram will be staged to highlight a campaign to keep full maternity services in Maidstone.
Helen Grant, the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Maidstone and the Weald, has said she will push a pram between the Maidstone and Pembury Hospitals.
It will demonstrate the distance some women in labour will have to travel when the full range of maternity services are concentrated at Pembury Hospital, scheduled for 2011.
The Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust plan to install a birthing unit in Maidstone, staffed by midwives, but this unit would not be able to deal with any complications which arise during labour.
The pram push will take place on Sunday, September 27.
Mrs Grant, who is a member of the MASH group (Maidstone Action for Services in Hospital), said: "I am personally vehemently opposed to the downgrading of services at Maidstone Hospital, especially the loss of a full maternity service.
"A shift of this nature will inevitably lead to loss of life. As a mother of two myself I know the importance of having a full service hospital nearby and at the heart of the community."
She also plans to send petitions to 25,000 homes and will deliver the results to health secretary, Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, Andrew Lansley and Glenn Douglas, chief executive of the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust.
Mrs Grant’s event comes a week after Peter Carroll, the prospective Lib Dem candidate for Maidstone and the Weald launched a petition which he plans to present to the health secretary.
Helen Grant can be contacted on email@example.com