Best outcome for maternity services

PUBLISHED: 09:36 27 January 2009 | UPDATED: 22:15 26 October 2009

Pam Handley

Pam Handley

SIR - As chair of East and North Herts Primary Care Trust (PCT), I cannot ignore the comments made by Grant Shapps concerning the integrity of the recent independent review of maternity services (WHT, January 14). This was undertaken by the past president

SIR - As chair of East and North Herts Primary Care Trust (PCT), I cannot ignore the comments made by Grant Shapps concerning the integrity of the recent independent review of maternity services (WHT, January 14).

This was undertaken by the past president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and a senior midwife; both are highly respected clinicians in their fields, not involved in health services in Hertfordshire and members of the national clinical advisory team which advises on implementing best practice in the NHS.

They interviewed a wide variety of people, including women who had given birth locally, and offered to meet with anyone who wished to contribute to the review. This has now been completed; the report and recommendations of the review team have been made public and were covered by the Welwyn Hatfield Times in December.

The full report can be found on the PCT's website.

It is clear from their findings that not everyone who spoke with them agreed on the way forward but the overriding consideration of the review team in reaching their conclusions was the safety of maternity services for women and babies.

They very much supported the expansion of community midwifery services and further local developments in antenatal and postnatal care.

The report will be considered by the PCT's board in the next few weeks.

My extremely competent, and certainly not hapless, chief executive Anne Walker and I try to meet with all Hertfordshire MPs on a regular basis as part of our ongoing engagement with community representatives.

It is right that they question and challenge what we do - we use such opportunities to explain our approach to improving health services in the area.

We look forward to discussing this further with Grant Shapps at our forthcoming meeting.

Pam Handley, chair, East and North Hertfordshire PCT

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