COLUMN: Yvette Cooper MP - Fighting to keep local services in our towns

Yvette Cooper MP
Yvette Cooper MP

Labour MP Yvette Cooper strongly believes that midwife led units like the one at Pontefract Hospital are the best choice for many mums .

One step forwards, two steps back. Mid Yorkshire Trust has reopened the birthing unit at Pontefract after the temporary six week closure. But they aren’t taking any new bookings. Frankly that’s an outrage.

They are trying to close the unit by stealth by forcing women to go to Pinderfields and then telling us Pontefract is too empty to use.

READ: Health bosses have ‘broken promises’ amid uncertainty of birth centre’s future, claims MP

The combination of the temporary closure and then denying choice to expectant mums who haven’t booked yet means a big reduction in local births and local choice.

Do they think we are stupid? This isn’t proper public consultation, it’s a joke.Hundreds of local parents have already signed the petition to keep Pontefract birthing centre open.

This should unite families right across the district too because the unfair arguments the Trust is using about Pontefract could just as easily apply to Dewsbury birthing centre too and before we know it we will have everyone crowded into Pinderfields.

Local health officials are putting their plans to the council next week and I think many councillors will be appalled. I’m calling on NHS England and the Government Ministers to step in and overturn these decisions.

READ: Pontefract Hospital birth centre reopens after Pinderfields staff shortage

National guidance is that midwife led units like ours are the best choice for many mums with normal births and that the NHS should support local services. We also desperately need more investment in our NHS.

Whilst Ministers have promised jam tomorrow, the truth is that next year many local hospitals across the country are still facing the squeeze.If you believe we need more funding for our NHS and that we should keep local services in our towns and make sure mums have choice in childbirth, join our campaign here.

Good news for Altofts Junior School and local residents who have been campaigning so hard against the proposed expansion of Rudd Quarry right up to the school boundary. Wakefield District Council Planning Committee has listened and turned the plans down.

Like local parents, school children and residents I made strong representations to the council because it isn’t fair to have a quarry like this so close to the school. Residents joined with school children and teachers to present evidence of how the noise and dust would affect their community.

The benefits just weren’t worth the harm. Sometimes feels like big organisations just aren’t listening to local communities - be it the Conservative Government, Mid Yorkshire Trust or big companies - especially in our towns.

So it’s good to see Wakefield Council’s planning committee listening and to see local community voices properly being heard.