Grantham Journal columnist Jacob Stuart: Voices were ignored in maternity unit battle

Columnist: Jacob Stuart
Columnist: Jacob Stuart
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Despite the voices of 7,696 people thrown in support of the Grantham Hospital maternity unit, we learned last week that the South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group decided that the service would close.

No date has been finalised as future options for the home of the midwifery led birthing unit are being explored.

While it is disappointing that such a public outcry of support is being ignored, there is apparently reasoning behind the move. Given the choice between expanding services or closing the unit it became clear that Grantham would have a much larger supply than current demand therefore the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists would not have accepted an obstetrics unit at Grantham Hospital.

Even as this news is clearly at best an inconvenience, and perhaps much worse, for many expectant mothers, the hospital will continue to provide almost complete cover during the process. The problem with this, of course, is that the most important day of the nine months is now to be in a completely different setting, much further away than it had been previous to this decision.

There is also the question of how this final move to shut the unit came about. Councillor Charmaine Morgan accused the CCG of misleading people in order to get the result they wanted by asking Sleaford residents who do not use Grantham Hospital.

I wrote months ago about how standing up as a community in a united effort for ambulance hub status was a major factor in getting the ‘super station’. I was pleased to see that officials could see how much it was wanted by locals and reacted accordingly. In this case mothers on their most vulnerable day, along with 7,696 Grantham locals, have been ignored.