Parliamentary motion calls for maternity re-think

January 22, 2009 12:00 AM

Paul Rowen MP with Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg MP.Rochdale MP Paul Rowen has tabled a parliamentary motion calling for a review of the decision to axe four of Greater Manchester's maternity units, including the one at Rochdale Infirmary.

The motion has been tabled after came it came to light that health bosses had wildly underestimated the number of births in Rochdale and throughout Greater Manchester.

Rochdale Online reported yesterday that in justifying their decision to cut maternity services two years ago, health bosses predicted that 2700 children would be born in Rochdale in 2007. The actual figure was over 400 more than this estimate at 3113. This has been replicated across Greater Manchester, with health bosses predicting 31,100 births but with the actual figure at 35,030.

The prediction of 2700 annual births has been used for every year up to 2015, so if the trend continues every year up until then, the estimated births will fall thousands short of the reality.

Paul Rowen said: "I am encouraging MPs from all parties to sign up to my motion. I know that the more that sign it, the more pressure it will put on the Health Minister Alan Johnson.

"It's quite obvious that there has been a huge error of judgement and this issue is too important to just brush under the carpet. It's clear that the consultation was carried out based on flawed figures.

"Reducing the number of maternity units in spite of a baby boom is the wrong thing to do."