HOSPITAL campaigners yesterday (Tuesday) launched a not-for-profit trust company to raise £1million a year to help save Hinchingbrooke s maternity unit. They hope to register the company as a charity. The Hands for Hinchingbrooke venture is led by former
HOSPITAL campaigners yesterday (Tuesday) launched a not-for-profit trust company to raise £1million a year to help save Hinchingbrooke's maternity unit. They hope to register the company as a charity.
The Hands for Hinchingbrooke venture is led by former Unison branch secretary Mike Gough, whose wife is the union's branch secretary at the hospital.
"We have a huge task to raise money but, if air ambulance charities can do it, why can't we?" he said.
"In December's announcement, the trust outlined the direction that Hinchingbrooke was going and we have got on to the first rung of this ladder. However, there is an obstacle in maternity funding, so this will be our first priority area - to raise more than £1million per annum to provide financial support for this needed service.
"It will be a huge task but, with hard work and support from local business and others, I am sure we can do it," he added.
"We still need to be in there to make sure the hospital is not being sold a dummy. I understand that some treatment may or will be done in the community. I know that is still in the pilot stage countrywide and there are many issues to be addressed before that can go live, especially with the cost of providing such a service as well as the many risks involved for both patients and staff who visit.
"Some funds have been released for certain areas for community hospital projects which will be in place 2008/09."
The venture will organise fund-raising events and sell merchandise such as pens, silicon wristbands in adult and children's sizes and high-visibility waistcoats for drivers and cyclists. A clothing range is also planned.
"We need to raise funds to assist the shortfall in maternity, so that Hinchingbrooke can offer its personal and quality maternity service for all mums who wish to choose to have their baby in Hinchingbrooke's wonderful maternity unit," Mr Gough said.
For fully efficient consultant cover a maternity unit needs to handle around 3,000 births a year. Although the area is growing rapidly, Hinchingbrooke last year delivered fewer than 2,500 babies.