Harwich Town Council

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Full Council Minutes 31st July 2013

MINUTES of the EXTRAORDINARY Meeting of Harwich Town Council held at
The 1912 Centre, Cow Lane, Harwich
on Wednesday 31st July 2013 at 9.30am

Present: Councillors Calver, Fowler, I Henderson, J Henderson, King, Morrison, C Powell, F Powell and Todd
In the Chair: Councillor McLeod
Clerk: Mrs Lucy Ballard
Also present: 0 members of the public and 1 member of the press
Helen Kershaw, CCG Project Leader
Carol Wood, Associate Director of Communications and Engagement, Central Eastern Commissioning Support Unit
Cllrs Brown, Day, Flavell and Thurlow
Absences – Cllr Thompson
Members welcomed representatives from the NHS CCG and Maternity Project and debated the issues regarding the Maternity Services Review and impending consultation on the future of Harwich Maternity Unit (HMU).Carol Wood confirmed that it was resolved at a CCG Board meeting yesterday to delay the consultation since more work was needed to ensure the most viable options were fully investigated, but also that priority had to be given to addressing the issues raised at a recent hospital review, and therefore they were not in a position to commence the consultation before the winter of 2013.

Members put various questions to the representatives, specifically about ~ the options for the future of HMU and whether these had already been decided, and the potential impact they may have on expectant and new mothers; ~ the birth statistics in the area and what these represent as a percentage of the pregnant population in the area, and how well used the local maternity units are; and ~ whether the exercise was to satisfy a need to cut costs.

Helen Kershaw and Carol Wood gave assurances that the measures were about ensuring quality of the service and placing the right resources where they are most needed; and was not about cutting costs, nor compromising the antenatal or postnatal care that is provided.   They confirmed that the review was in line with NICE guidelines.

Members asked why those local to Harwich who had to deliver in Colchester, be it by natural means or c-section, were no longer allowed to return to their local unit. It was also suggested that perhaps those low-risk mothers local to Colchester could be encouraged to give birth in Harwich.
The Clerk, as a new mother, was asked for her thoughts on the impending consultation.

The Chairman closed the meeting at 10.50am.