On Sunday afternoon I dropped in to the Camden Arms to meet up with Helen Grant, Conservative PPC for Maidstone & The Weald, her husband Simon, and her supporters. Helen had just walked a pram from Maidstone Hospital to Pembury Hospital to protest against the plan to downgrade maternity services at Maidstone and shift them to Pembury.
Bearing in mind that she’d walked sixteen miles pushing a perambulator, Helen looked remarkably fit as she enjoyed a well-earned glass of chilled white wine in the afternoon sun. TV personality Geoff Clarke had performed the sendoff; the media had turned out in force and more than a dozen lorries from the Marden Industrial Estate had turned out to show solidarity and support for Helen’s campaign.
The cause is a worthy one; it’s easy to be smug and self-satisfied that the new hospital in Pembury will have full and state of the art maternity facilities. It’s harder to imagine what it’s like for Maidstone residents who face losing those services – for Mums in the throes of labour complications who are told they must travel sixteen miles to receive appropriate treatment.
The fact is that both hospitals should have full maternity services, and that’s what Helen and the MASH (Maidstone Action for Services in Hospital) campaign is fighting for. If you’d like to find out more about the campaign or download a petition form, click this link.
Oh, and while we’re about it, when will the Government wake up and build the Colts Hill strategic link so that access between the two hospitals doesn’t have to be a game of Russian Roulette?