‘I am deeply saddened at the loss of Melton’s baby unit’

Following many years of hard campaigning by many wonderful mums and residents, on Tuesday, sadly, a meeting of the East Leicestershire and Rutland CCG decided that the birthing unit at St Mary’s is to close.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 2:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th June 2021, 3:18 pm
Rutland and Melton MP, Alicia Kearns EMN-211006-150850001
Rutland and Melton MP, Alicia Kearns EMN-211006-150850001

Following many years of hard campaigning by many wonderful mums and residents, on Tuesday, sadly, a meeting of the East Leicestershire and Rutland CCG decided that the birthing unit at St Mary’s is to close. I’m deeply saddened and I know how upsetting losing a unit like St Mary’s is – for everyone who was born there, for everyone whose kids were born there and for the expectant mums across our community who’d hoped their children might be born there.

Mums in Melton deserve the best care available. The CCG has decided that care is more safely delivered in Leicester – and that is after a significant public consultation. However, whilst that decision has been made, there is still more we need to do. Over the last year I’ve worked with you to challenge assumptions, improve the mechanisms for you to have your say and pushed hard on postnatal care. That is now where I will focus my effort.

With the loss of the birthing unit, I am pushing for Melton to be the home of Leicestershire’s new maternal mental health unit, which was announced by government earlier this year.

This new unit is vital and I believe Melton would be the ideal home for it, and would give local mums the best possible mental health support, and would also have a long-term impact on the healthcare provided at St Mary’s.

As well as pushing for this unit, I am focused on pushing the CCG to set out exactly what antenatal and postnatal services will be available at St Mary’s for mums and dads.

As is to be expected, I am in constant touch with the CCG about how we can maintain high standards of care in Melton overall. One part of that, of course, is a second GP clinic here in Melton, to relieve pressure on Latham House, and to give people the primary healthcare access they deserve. We are making good progress and I hope to have more news soon.

I love Leicestershire, as should all right-thinking people! So the fact that Leicestershire doesn’t have a county flag – the only county in England without one – just doesn’t make sense. A flag, combined with a Leicestershire Day, would give us even more opportunity to celebrate our wonderful county. I’ve been working on this for well over a year, and have been meeting campaigners, the Flag Institute and many others. We know that a flag isn’t just a flag, but a symbol to build pride in our county. And a county like Leicestershire deserves a flag, and a day, to be the focus of the pride we all feel.

On the subject of pride, it’s hard not to feel proud of the work that so many have done for others in the past year. Volunteering is such a selfless act, and too often goes unrecognised.

That’s why I’ve launched Rutland and Melton Volunteer Heroes – an award I intend to run every year to recognise the work that people put in to help others. Be it litter picking, helping the elderly, teaching children or even arranging flowers at church, I want to hear these stories. You can nominate your Volunteer Hero on my website. I can’t wait to read these stories, and I’ll invite one of the Volunteer Heroes for tea and cake in Parliament as a small way to say thank you.

This week also saw the initial proposals for new boundaries for Parliamentary constituencies in England. It’s important to stress that these are just that: proposals. They are open to a public consultation, and I hope that anyone who feels strongly about their representation in Parliament takes the time to take part in the consultation, at www.bcereviews.org.uk.

Any change to constituency boundaries should be made with one thing in mind: protecting and enhancing services, representation and support for all our residents. No matter the proposals, I will not stop working hard to deliver the best for everyone across all our communities.