We’ll fight to protect baby units facing axe by NHS

Essex County Standard: We’ll fight to protect baby units facing axe by NHS We’ll fight to protect baby units facing axe by NHS

CAMPAIGNERS have said they will fight on to save their maternity units in the face of a renewed shake-up of the service.

Mums and councillors have said they are convinced the new proposals, set to be announced in January, will still include plans to close or downgrade the Clacton and Harwich units.

The first time the plans were mooted, earlier this year, there was a public backlash.

Now, as health bosses have agreed changes are needed and revealed a consultation will take place in April, mums have mobilised again.

Dionne Woodcraft, 25, from St Osyth, said: “If the unit closed, it would be hard for mums.

“We want to keep services at Clacton Hospital, not see them close. We want this unit to stay open.”

Maternity campaigner and Essex county councillor Ivan Henderson, said: “I’m going to carry on fighting and I urge everybody else to as well.

“We have to stand up and fight for our maternity units.

“I’m sure the new consultation will still include plans to close Clacton and Harwich maternity units. I don’t expect them to have changed their minds on that at all.

“We still want full maternity units in Clacton and Harwich for those women who want it.”

Tendring and Essex county councillor Andy Wood said with the population growing, the need for a maternity unit was even greater.

He said: “We have to mobilise the people with this, I don’t want the unit to close.”

Mum-of-four Arlene Stephens, 29, from Lake Walk, Clacton, said mothers were upset Clacton’s unit could still be under threat.

“As mums, we will fight to keep this unit open,” she said.

“We do not want to see it close.

“We are worried that if the unit is closed, the services that are provided will eventually be eroded.”

Carol Wood, from the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said the options had not yet been drawn up, but said the aim was to create a fair service for everyone across north Essex.

She also confirmed the group’s preferred option would be revealed in the new year.

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