Rowen calls for coalition to reconsider proposals to shut Women's and Children's Services at the Rochdale Infirmary

May 25, 2010 12:00 AM

Rochdale's former MP Paul Rowen has called on the new Coalition Government to reconsider proposals to transfer Women's and Children's Services from Rochdale to Oldham.

His calls come after the new Conservative/Liberal Democrat Government set out their proposals for Health this week stating that:

(a) We will stop the centrally dictated closure of A&E and maternity wards, so that people have better access to local services.

(b) If a local authority has concerns about a significant proposed closure of local services, for example an A&E department, it will have the right to challenge health organisations, and refer the case to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel. The Panel would then provide advice to the Secretary of State for Health.

In January Pennine Acute Hospital Trust submitted a report to the North West SHA which showed that proposals to transfer the service from Rochdale to Oldham had increased from 35 million to 44.2 million pounds capital with an extra revenue cost of 400,000 pounds per annum. To date these proposals have not been approved by the Department of Health.

Paul Rowen has written to the SOS asking him to reconsider these proposals.

He said: "These proposals do nothing to improve services for expectant Mums or ill children. They close facilities which are less than ten years old and substitute them with services in Oldham which cost more and are less than convenient for local people. In the current economic climate the reconfiguration proposals are unsustainable and need to be reconsidered. Now that the Lib Dems and Conservatives are in control we have a golden opportunity to reverse Labour's cuts."

Councillor Jean Ashworth Chair of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee added:

"My committee will be discussing these proposals at its first meeting. I will be asking the committee, in no certain terms, that in the light of the coalition's policy to ask for a full review of these proposals. Retaining Children's and Maternity Services at Rochdale remains our priority."