I see that there is talk about closing the maternity unit at Lagan Valley hospital partially on safety grounds. As I have said previously closing hospitals or even reducing services is practically impossible politically speaking and right on cue we have Jeffrey Donaldson denouncing this potential closure. Again it is clear that politicians are not willing to admit to the need to close any services and instead it is left to the Health Trusts to do so.The Royal College of Midwives correctly points out the need to have more services in other hospitals ready for this closure. However, if the politicians are not willing to give organisation and direction will this happen?
As an aside my wife and I know from personal experience how a normal pregnancy can suddenly become a need to have an obstetrician, anaesthetist and paediatrician there practically immediately. Our frightening experience had a completely happy ending because all of these people were there very quickly. Had all of them not been available it might not have been so. I must confess even the idea of a midwife led unit without all those people immediately available I regard as rather worrying; very rarely would there be a problem but if it were your wife or your child .
Maybe Mr. Donaldson should reflect that if indeed the hospital trust feels that the situation needs to be changed on safety grounds his first priority might be the safety of his constituents rather than political posturing. Maybe also Mr. McGimpsey might try showing a bit of leadership instead of hiding behind reviews and allowing trusts to take the flak. Then again maybe there are pigs flying past my study window.