Campaigners say they will step up efforts to block the potential move of Liverpool Women’s Hospital, despite proposals to build a new facility.
The Crown Street maternity unit, which features in the Channel 4 TV programme, ‘One Born Every Minute’, could be rebuilt under a scheme which would see it become attached by a bridge to the new Royal Liverpool Hospital when that eventually opens.
However, the plans have been controversial, with a street protest featuring 3,000 people being held during the recent Labour Party Women’s conference, with further action in the pipeline.
The ‘Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital’ group has gained support from the likes of Sir Paul McCartney and Liverpool City Council, with an online petition growing to more than 42,000 signatures so far.
Campaigner Felicity Dowling believes the proposals do not make sense in the current climate. She told JMU Journalism: “The NHS, women’s health care and maternity are facing a national crisis. We are trying to save what we have; ‘what we have we hold’. We want to keep the whole service together, intact and focused on women’s health and the safe delivery of babies.
YouTube: Liverpool Health Partners
“We think that idea is flawed in many ways… £140 million pounds to move a hospital a mile down the road is a lot of money in an impoverished NHS. The idea is part of a badly flawed system shown clearly in the chaos of the Liverpool Royal Hospital new build. Every fear we expressed during the campaign against the PFI new hospital came true times 10.”
She also has fears about the health risks of moving the hospital closer to the city centre, saying: “Traffic pollution kills babies. Already hospitals in London are putting in air filters to try to save patients. Even if hospital air is filtered, getting to and from the hospital will still exposes the babies to that polluted air.”
However, the Medical Director of Liverpool Women’s Hospital thinks the planned move is necessary and will ultimately improve health care services for everyone.
Dr Andrew Loughney said: “We are not closing. We want to build a new state-of-the art Liverpool Women’s Hospital to provide even better care to our patients. This would give our services greater access to other specialists that we simply cannot achieve from our current hospital site.
“What we would like to ask now is for the local population of Liverpool to take the time to understand our preferred plans for the future. We can assure you that we will always act in the best interests of our patients and the nurses, midwives, doctors and other health care professionals who provide such excellent care at Liverpool Women’s.”