Board expected to close maternity hospital

HEALTH officials in Glasgow are expected to rubber-stamp plans to close the Queen Mother’s Maternity Hospital, despite months of campaigning to keep the unit open.

Members of Greater Glasgow NHS Board will today give their final decision on the option to rationalise the city’s maternity provision from three to two hospitals after a dramatic decline in birth rates.

However, a cross-party group of politicians, celebrities and clinicians from across the UK have demanded that the Queen Mother’s should remain open, maintaining its link to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children on the adjacent Yorkhill site.

NHS Greater Glasgow conducted its own pre-consultation exercise in May last year, concluding that the Queen Mother’s should close, with the maternity unit at the Southern General Hospital upgraded.

Health officials say that expectant mothers who need intensive care treatment would be best served at the Southern General, where ITU is on site.

However, opponents of closure insist that such a plan would lead to up to 200 babies being transported through the notoriously congested Clyde Tunnel for treatment at Yorkhill, potentially endangering their lives.

One board member, yesterday, confirmed that despite some vocal opposition, the decision would be in favour of closing the Queen Mother’s.

Sandra White, the SNP MSP for Glasgow, said that in the face of "overwhelming" medical opinion, the board would sanction closure.

She added: "The health board are intending to close the Queen Mother’s but they won’t get away with it. The decision will then go to the health minister, Malcolm Chisholm and there will be huge pressure on him to reverse that decision."

If the minister does give the go-ahead for closure, the hospital could be mothballed as early as next year.

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