Campaign for birth centre and labour ward in Rochdale

Date published: 29 March 2017

The Friends of Rochdale Maternity Care (FORMC) are campaigning for maternity care closer to home in Rochdale with a birth centre and labour ward.

Chairman of the FORMC, Mohammad Hanif, said: “860 out of 880 people from a random selection, who were asked to sign a petition, were in strong favour of having a maternity hospital in Rochdale and signed the petition.

"The people of Rochdale are in dire need and facing difficulties in maternity care.

“We believe that the people of Rochdale need a maternity hospital in Rochdale because access to Oldham Royal Hospital at certain times is difficult due to road traffic congestion on Oldham Road and the A627(M). This will get worse in the future.

“In addition, the car parking facility at Royal Oldham is not enough to cater for present and future requirements, nor is the number of maternity beds and staff.”

Expectant mothers within the borough are forced to visit the Royal Oldham Hospital or North Manchester General Hospital as Rochdale’s maternity ward at the Infirmary closed in 2011. The service was relocated to the Royal Oldham.

At the time, a spokesperson for Pennine Acute Trust said: “The timing of the transfer of maternity services is closely linked to the transfer of other acute services from the hospital and the approval already given for the major new £44m women and children’s development at The Royal Oldham Hospital, encompassing new maternity, paediatric and neonatal services for the residents of Oldham, Rochdale and surrounding districts.”

The Friends group, which was formed in November 2016 after hearing of problems faced by pregnant women from the Rochdale Borough, would ideally like these facilities to be based at Rochdale Infirmary, or at a health centre in Rochdale. Other proposed locations include community centres or a purpose built building.

FORMC has held meetings with Clinical Commissioning Group(CCG), Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Health and Wellbeing, and Healthwatch Rochdale as part of their mission to bring maternity care back to the Borough, and have spoken about registering as a charity to help fund the costs.

Mr Hanif added: “Healthwatch Rochdale have the statutory powers to ensure the voice of the general public is heard. They wish to know about any incidents of problematic births that have taken place at Royal Oldham or North Manchester since 2013.

“On their advice, we are trying to trace those women who experienced problems on the day their babies were due, during their journey to hospital, during the admission process and once admitted until they were discharged.”

CEO of Healthwatch Rochdale, Kate Jones, said: “Healthwatch Rochdale’s role is to gather feedback from the general public regarding any Health and Social Care they have received. Healthwatch Rochdale has been approached by a local group highlighting a number of issues they have faced when accessing Maternity services. If a service user has both a positive or negative experience when using Maternity services at Royal Oldham Hospital or North Manchester General Hospital, we would like to hear their feedback. ”

To share your feedback, contact Healthwatch Rochdale on 01706 249 575.

Do you have a story for us?

Let us know by emailing
All contact will be treated in confidence.

To contact the Rochdale Online news desk, email or visit our news submission page.

To get the latest news on your desktop or mobile, follow Rochdale Online on Twitter and Facebook.

While you are here...

...we have a small favour to ask; would you support Rochdale Online and join other residents making a contribution, from just £3 per month?

Rochdale Online offers completely independent local journalism with free access. If you enjoy the independent news and other free services we offer (event listings and free community websites for example), please consider supporting us financially and help Rochdale Online to continue to provide local engaging content for years to come. Thank you.

Support Rochdale Online