I am not surprised there has been a strong public reaction to the announcement by the Solihull and Heartlands NHS Trust that it wants to cut down the provision of maternity services at Solihull Hospital.
If this goes ahead, it would mean a significantly longer journey for women in labour to a hospital where they can be delivered of their baby. My constituency is served by several hospitals and many of my constituents want to have their baby safely at Solihull because it is the closest hospital.
At the root of this problem is the fact that Solihull does not have a paediatrician. In 1994, it proved impossible to get a license for a full time paediatrician at Solihull because there were not enough cases but the management of the Trust found a solution by rotating paediatric consultants across both sites.
However, I am told the Royal Colleges have tightened their guidelines and a paediatrician must be 10 minutes from a baby’s side at all times, and it is clearly impossible to get to Solihull from Heartlands in ten minutes by road.
So the proposed compromise is a midwife-led service at Solihull. However, my understanding is that the midwives themselves are unwilling to run a service without a paediatrician.
So this is what we must campaign for and what I will be campaigning for: the return of a paediatric service to Solihull so women can give birth safely and our young have the benefit of excellent midwives, backed by a fully trained child doctor.