A letter from the House of Commons

This is the one where I tell you about my

letter from the House of commons

You may remember that I wrote to David Crausby, my MP, to enquire about his campaign to improve maternity services at the hopital where my children were born. You can read the post, with my letter, here. Well, I’m so happy to annouce that I have received a reply!
The envelope plopped onto the doormat on Saturday and as soon as I saw HOUSE OF COMMONS in bold, I thought to myself- “well, let’s see what excuses he gives!” Well this is where I eat my words. I’m actually happy with his response and even his reasons why maternity units in the North west are closing. Please bare with me. I DO NOT think that closing the units is a good idea personally, but I can understand his reasons. David Crausby told me:

” In 2007, following a massive review and colsultation involving doctors, nurses and patients, it was decided that it would be a better use of public funds to move from having twelve maternity units in Greater Manchester to 5 improved units plus three super centres. This would mean money and support would be less thinly spread, money saved afrom the closed centres would be heavily invested into those that remained.”

My problem, I told him, was that Bolton Hospital was to become a so-called super centre and yet it has one of the worst reputations in the country for patient deaths and its maternity unit is currently very poorly regarded. The response was:

“£20 million was to be invested to vastly improve the centre [at Bolton] and the services on offer The supercentre was designed to provide extra delivery rooms, new high-dependency beds, new intensive care and high-dependency cots, new beds for antenatal and post-natal wards, new overnight on-site facilities for parents, and the best equipment possible to provide care for our sickest babies. It would also bring over 400 new jobs into Bolton and tackle the growing problem of staff shortages.”

Construction began in September 2009 and when I went in to have my son in December that year, it was in full swing. I told David Crausby about the workmen outside of my window in delivery- and the lack of blinds in the windows. Yes, the hospital was abysmal when I was there, but I DO feel a little assured that things are being done to improve that. The letter also told me that

“Last year… Andrew Lansley [Conservative Health Secretary] announced that he was going to stop the plans from going ahead within days of the Conservatives coming to power… This not only would have halted any improvemnts but would have wasted a huge amount of money that had already been spent.”

SO I guess that David Crausby’s campaign saved Bolton Hospital’s super unit and I sincerely hope that it will indeed be a super unit. For the closures of the smaller units in Greater Manchester’s sake. For the sake of all the babies that have been born there, saved there and died there. For the sake of those parents who watched their babies in the SCBU, whose hearts belong in those units, whose thanks belong to those units.

For me, the most important part of my letter from the House of Commons was just two sentences long. Please allow me to share those sentences:

“I was very sorry to read that you had bad experiences at the hospital in both 2004 and 2009. Stories like yours are the reason why I worked hard to ensure that improvements would be mafe to maternity services in the region.”

This is the first time that anyone has ever said sorry to me, or acknowledged that what happened should not have happened. This is the first time that someone has told me that they wanted to do something about it. These two sentences have made me realise that we have to stand up and tell people what is happening and to demand answers. I might just make that official complaint now- David Crausby has apologised, but he wasn’t there on that day. There are more answers I need now.

image source: theboltonnews.co.uk,parentmanual.co.uk


3 responses to “A letter from the House of Commons

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