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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 May 2006, 15:39 GMT 16:39 UK
Health bosses reject unit closure
Maternity ward
Eight specialist maternity units would remain under the plans
Health officials in Bury have formally rejected plans to close the maternity unit at the town's Fairfield Hospital.

The proposal was put forward as part of plans to improve services for children and mothers across Greater Manchester.

The strategic health authority wants to locate in-patient, maternity and neo-natal wards at eight larger sites across the region.

But Bury Primary Care Trust (PCT) said this would "significantly disadvantage" people living in Bury and Rochdale.

Members formally rejected the plans - part of Greater Manchester Strategic Health Authority's (SHA) Making if better strategy - at a meeting on Wednesday.

We are urging the Joint Committee responsible for making the choices under Making It Better to think again
Dr Derek Fletcher, Bury PCT

Although members support the need for changes to maternity and children's services, they said there was no support for the options put forward by the SHA.

The PCT is now calling on a re-think of the strategy, which could also see the closure of the neo-natal unit at Hope Hospital and maternity units at Rochdale Infirmary and Trafford General.

Dr Derek Fletcher, chair of the Professional Executive Committee, said the PCT shared the concerns of the people of Bury.

"This is based on a detailed analysis of criteria relating to distance, transport and thus safety," he said.

"We are urging the Joint Committee responsible for making the choices under Making It Better to think again."

Public consultation

The strategy followed a two-year review of existing services undertaken by a joint committee of primary care trusts in Greater Manchester.

It highlighted a lack of specialist doctors across the region, which has meant maternity units closing at various times because of a lack of cover.

Health bosses agreed on a model of "enhanced community services" with a concentration of more specialist services on fewer and larger in-patient sites.

The remaining units would become midwifery units, which would help with non-complicated deliveries and post natal care.

A public consultation on the strategy ends on 12 May.


SEE ALSO:
Maternity services under threat
18 Nov 05 |  Manchester
Health bosses plan maternity cuts
25 Jul 05 |  Manchester


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