The campaign to protect maternity services in Solihull has reached the House of Commons after an MP demanded that health chiefs scrap plans to transfer pregnant women to Birmingham.
Lorely Burt has sponsored a Commons motion expressing “concern” at the proposals and demanding better funding for Solihull Hospital. But National Health Service managers said the changes were designed to make patients safer.
Heart of England Foundation Trust, which runs Solihull Hospital, has announced plans to end “high risk” or premature births at Solihull from April next year.
Instead, mothers will be transferred to Heartlands Hospital, in Bordesley Green, or Good Hope, in Sutton Coldfield, which are run by the same trust.
There are currently 2,700 births at Solihull Hospital each year, but the number will drop by three-quarters once the changes come in.
Trust bosses say the changes are being made to reach new national guidelines to make maternity units safer.
Consultants are currently paged by midwives at Solihull when extra support is needed for complicated births but this system will end, with Solihull’s maternity unit becoming midwife-led and capable of coping only with simple, low-risk pregnancies.
Local protestors have launched a campaign against the plans and urged NHS managers to invest in better facilities in Solihull instead.
In her Commons motion, Ms Burt said she was “concerned that a number of services at Solihull Hospital have been downgraded in recent years which, with cuts to the Care Trust budget of £11.2 million this financial year, will add further stress to health services in Solihull.”
She urged the NHS trust “to reject these proposals and to ensure that Solihull Hospital is sufficiently funded and equipped so that it is able to provide a full range of maternity services for local people.”
The MP also asked health ministers to assess the proposed changes.
However, minister Gillian Merron made it clear the Government was unlikely to intervene.
Ms Merron said: “Service reconfiguration is a matter for the local NHS, in conjunction with clinicians, patients, and other stakeholders and an assessment of the potential changes to the services provided on the maternity ward in Solihull Hospital has therefore not been made by the department.”