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Maternity downgrade rumpus

THE Coalition government has been accused of standing by while Solihull’s maternity services were downgraded.

THE Coalition government has been accused of standing by while Solihull’s maternity services were downgraded.

Labour councillor Simon Slater has accused the Tories and his old party, the Lib Dems, of breaking election promises. Coun Slater (Shirley West), who defected to Labour last summer, said both the coalition partners had campaigned on the issue last May.

But 12 months on, he said neither party had stepped-in to prevent the changes becoming permanent.

“Andrew Lansley, the now Secretary of State for Health, even came to Solihull promising to ensure the maternity unit was not downgraded,” he said.

“It would seem that for the Tories and Lib Dems election promises were merely tactics to win votes.”

Solihull MP Lorely Burt hit back, saying that “the die had already been cast” over maternity services.

“It was obviously disappointing that nothing could be done, but I contacted Andrew Lansley directly about this issue,” she said.

“I find it remarkable that Simon has spoken out about this now, when I don’t remember him voicing any opinion at the time.”

And Maggie Throup, who was the Tory candidate at last year’s election, accused Labour of being disingenuous.

“The maternity services actually closed in April, under a Labour government - before the coalition was formed,” she added.

Last month, health chiefs confirmed that the change to a midwifery-led service, introduced last summer, would be permanent.

 

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