MERIDEN MP Caroline Spelman has challenged the reasons given for downgrading Solihull’s maternity services.
Health bosses had maintained that the unit needs access to advanced paediatric resuscitation within ten minutes
However, when Mrs Spelman quizzed Health Secretary Andy Burnham, he said that the Government guidelines are 30 minutes.
In a further blow for campaigners, Mr Burnham has said that the issue is a matter for the local health service - shooting down hopes of government intervention,
“Ten minutes may be best practice but if ten minutes was introduced nationwide you’d be shutting down maternity units up and down the country,” said Mrs Spelman
“I cannot believe that they cannot continue to maintain the guidelines of 30 minutes because they have been able to manage it for all of the 13 years I have been MP here.”
But Heart of England said it is following two specific guidelines from a 2007 report. The document says that paediatric resuscitation should be available within ten minutes and paediatric consultation should be available in 30.
A spokesman said: “Our clinical teams, the Coroner and external experts are focused on providing the safest care possible and this means meeting the highest standards and working to best practice.”
But the battle rages on, with Solihull councillors condemning the downgrade at a meeting this week.
Coun Jim Ryan (Con, Bickenhill) put a motion to his fellow members - demanding that the health trust reverses its decision.
“They see us as spectators, subservient poodles, but we can send a message here tonight that we will open our chest and roar like lions in protection of our services.”
The three main parties supported the motion, with Lib Dem leader Ian Hedley accusing the trust of disregarding public opinion.
Within the next few months, Solihull will become a midwifery-led unit, with high-risk births being sent to Heartlands and other local hospitals.
Yesterday, Heart of England repeated its support for a full consultation and said it would act on recommendations.