MP for Corby and East Northants Andy Sawford raised concerns over the future of services at Kettering General Hospital during a Commons debate on Wednesday, December 12.
It is feared that the Healthier Together review of health services in the region will result in cuts to Kettering’s’ maternity provision and its accident and emergency department.
So far the MP has collected more than 6,000 signatures calling for services at Kettering General to be safeguarded.
He told the House: “Kettering General Hospital now has 17 operating theatres and an obstetrics unit that delivers more than 3,500 babies a year.
“It has something that serves only a few of my constituents but is incredibly important to all of us – a neonatal intensive care unit, or special care baby unit. My own family has had cause to be grateful to that unit and its brilliant staff.
“The big issue that causes us all concern locally is a major review of health services — the kind of review that other members have experienced in their areas.
“In Kettering, the Healthier Together review of five hospitals has already cost more than £2 million; that was the figure in the summer, and I have no doubt that it is rising rapidly. The review has also taken a great deal of time and effort. In early September, together with local nurses and others, I met the people leading that review, as a public member of the trust, and I was incredibly worried about what I heard, both as a user of the services, and as a representative of local people.”
Mr Sawford said the five regional hospitals being reviewed faced a funding gap of £48m, and that Kettering General faces a future funding gap of £6m a year.
He said that under the review of the five regional hospitals, including Kettering’s, obstetrics would go at two of the locations and would be replaced by a midwife-led unit.
The MP said: “We want our proper obstetrics-led unit to remain and we do not want it downgraded to a midwife-led unit.
“At two of the five hospitals, trauma services would be lost. I have already described how Kettering General Hospital provides level 2 trauma and treats more than 2,000 trauma patients a year.
“It is important for geography to be recognised as a critical factor. Healthier Together will talk about the clinical evidence and the clinical drivers, but it must recognise that local people are very concerned that Luton and Dunstable hospital is 50 miles away, and that the nearest hospital in the group is 45 minutes away from Corby at Northampton, along a very busy road.
“The journey takes 45 minutes at the best of times; the road is seriously in need of upgrading and improving.”
Mr Sawford praised Kettering’s MP, Philip Hollobone, for raising concerns about the future of services at Kettering General Hospital in the Commons last month and said he would be working with him to seek assurances that services at KGH will not be cut.