Tag Archives: maternity services

13 May 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Bathing water: Govt needs to go further and stop sewage being pumped into bathing water sites
  • Maternity Care: Time Govt end postcode lottery
  • PM speech: Sunak should listen to the public and call a General Election
  • McArthur comments as legal action launched over deposit return scheme losses

Bathing water: Govt needs to go further and stop sewage being pumped into bathing water sites

Responding to the government announcing new designated bathing water sites, Liberal Democrat Environment spokesperson Tim Farron MP said:

The government needs to go much further and stop sewage being pumped into bathing water sites. Conservative Ministers allowed disgraced water firms to spill sewage into these sites over 30,000 times last year. No swimmer should have to fear raw sewage making them sick.

Today the Liberal Democrats have tabled an amendment to make water companies criminally liable for their sewage pollution. I am urging MPs from all parties to back this and finally get tough on these firms.

Maternity Care: Time Govt end postcode lottery

Commenting on the the Birth Trauma Inquiry, Liberal Democrat MP and Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss, Helen Morgan MP said:

This inquiry has exposed what many of us have long feared about the state of the country’s maternity services.

For so many women to have such traumatic experiences of birth is nothing short of a national tragedy. Too many are being failed in pregnancy, birth and aftercare as this report shows.

It’s time the Government took action to end the postcode lottery in maternity services. I urge them to accept the report in full.

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Channel 4 highlights human rights concerns of Caithness women facing 2.5 hour journey to give birth

The A9 from Wick and Thurso to Inverness is a long road, even at the best of times.

I’ve travelled it in all weathers. In the Summer of 1980 as my parents went to the Royal Garden Party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. In the depths of an icy 1984 Winter to my Grandma’s funeral in Inverness.

Even though they have made the hairpin bend on the Berriedale Braes a bit easier and the Dornoch Bridge has cut off a good half hour from the journey, it’s still a long and twisty road.

Definitely not one you would want to be driving along in any stage of labour.

I had to travel about 12 miles by car in the early stages of labour and I can promise you not one bit of that was pleasant. I could not contemplate the thought of setting off from Wick to Inverness at a windy 4 am. And let me tell you the wind in Caithness is a special thing, a lazy wind as an elderly friend of the family used to call it because it went right through you rather than go round you.

But that’s exactly what women in Caithness have had to face ever since the maternity unit at Caithness General Hospital in Wick was downgraded to midwife led in 2016. The alternative to the long drive in labour is being sent to Raigmore to be induced 2 weeks before your due date. And of course induction leads to more intervention than might have been necessary. Imagine the return trip when you’ve just had a caesarean section or a lot of stitches. If you are not wincing at that thought, I have no words.

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Ockenden Maternity Review: A view from the front line in Shropshire

The Ockenden Report, to be published this morning, was commissioned by Jeremy Hunt in 2017 after the parents of babies who died in the care of Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Hospital Trust (SATH) were distraught about the uncaring response of staff to their bereavement. Concerns were also raised about the numbers of preventable baby deaths.

The report of the Ockenden maternity review, which investigated 1,862 cases, will add to several recent reports detailing catastrophic failures within other NHS Trusts. This article sets out the wider context for the failures at SaTH and makes recommendations for improvements to the way that care and safeguarding is managed across the NHS.

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In praise of being a by-election candidate

It’s 18 months since Jamie Reed resigned as the MP for Copeland, forcing a very unexpected by-election.

I’d never intended standing for parliament.  I was very content running my own business and being a local (lowest level – unpaid) Councillor, campaigning on a local issue I was passionate about (keeping our maternity services).

Copeland was not a winnable seat (we had no Lib Dem councillors there and all the Lib Dems were in Stoke fighting Nuttall) but by-elections command a lot of party and media attention, so being the candidate gave me the chance to do many things I couldn’t have done in an unwinnable seat in a general election for example:

– Copeland contains Sellafield – the hub of the nuclear industry.  Our nuclear experts were very worried about the consequences of the UK pulling out of the Euratom agreement as part of Brexit.  Lord Teverson and Baroness Featherstone helped me get this issue rapidly on the Westminster agenda.  Because I was raising it in Copeland, the main party candidates had to know about it so their parties had to help them and this issue quickly gained cross party attention.

– I was also very concerned about a particularly toxic academy issue we faced.  The other candidates didn’t properly understand it but by raising it again and again and explaining it in depth at hustings I was able to make sure they did.  To her credit, Trudy Harrison (the elected Conservative MP) has got herself onto the Education Select Committee and is working hard on this issue.

– I was able to drive forward my work on our maternity issues with the help of Norman Lamb, Baroness Brinton and the local media.

 – I was able to be a role model for the kind of evidence-based inclusive democracy I believe in, for example I was able to set up hustings in areas that felt neglected.

I got high level training on working with the media and plenty of experience.  I got the support of very experienced politicians and my fantastic agent Andy Sanger and so was able to learn a great deal very quickly.

The credibility I gained during the by-election meant that I was elected to Cumbria County Council last May.  From there I’ve been able to continue to protect maternity services and I’ve been able to have a positive impact on more issues than I can count.  

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