The popular Petersfield birthing centre, The Grange Maternity Centre, is to close “temporarily” as midwives are moved to hospitals to cope with a “baby boom”.
In much the same way that an increase in criminal activity and anti-social behaviour necessitated the closure of Petersfield police station, NHS officials were left scurrying around in an attempt to come up with a feasible excuse for the move.
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has denied any plans to shut the unit but the impending Government comprehensive cutting review seems certain to expedite its shutting down.
A spokesman for the NHS Trust said: “It has come to our notice that the hundreds of people who worked tirelessly a few years ago to mount a campaign to keep the Grange open have been getting bored with nothing to do.
“This is all part of a community project and fits nicely with David Cameron’s Big Society objective. Groups can build up a great community spirit while mounting a concerted campaign opposing the closure and, when they realise their efforts have been futile, we can ask them to take control of the unit themselves.
“The Big Society allows for a couple of people with clean towels, boiling water and a large pair of forceps to run the unit for the benefit of the community. It will be a lasting legacy of the Conservatives’ community initiatives.”
Phil Opiantubes, head of moving midwifery to save money (MMSM), said: “What we need to make sure is that the midwives are where the women are. So by forcing the women to have their babies in Portsmouth we can justify moving all our midwives there.”
The same premise may be applied to other public services in the area. An increase in arson may see the forced closure of Petersfield fire station, while an increase in the number of commuters using Petersfield station may force SouthWest Trains to start its Waterloo service from Liphook.
The expected baby boom, will, almost inevitably lead to a closure of primary schools in five years time when the children are heading off to full-time education and once the economy picks up all shops are expected to close.
It’s not all bad news, however. A Government spokesman confirmed that those who could afford to go private would be unaffected.