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HOSPITAL TO LOSE SPECIAL CARE BABY UNIT; HEALTH: Plans announced to transfer service to Coventry.

Byline: By Steve Evans

NUNEATON's beleaguered George Eliot Hospital is to lose its special care baby unit under a radical shake-up of maternity services across Warwickshire.

Mums giving birth to premature or poorly babies will be transferred to Coventry's new University Hospital at Walsgrave under the proposals announced today.

The plans have been put forward in an independent NHS review of hospital services across the region, revealed today.

The news will not come as a massive shock in Nuneaton, where a question mark has been hovering over the town's maternity unit for several months.

George Eliot Hospital is currently more than pounds 7 million in debt.

Only last month, the hospital announced it was making redundant four healthcare support workers and two midwives in its maternity unit - fuelling speculation about its long-term future.

Health chiefs in Nuneaton admitted last month that the ageing George Eliot maternity unit was part of a review.

Since Princess Alexandra officially opened the unit in February 1968, an estimated 40,000 babies have been born on the site.

Under the shake-up revealed today, consultant paediatricians needed to look after poorly babies will only be on site at George Eliot for 12 hours a day.

There will be no round-the-clock cover.

So babies needing to stay in hospital for more than 12 hours will have to go to Coventry. It will mean the closure of the town's special care baby unit.

COUNTY SERVICES FACE HUGE SHAKE-UP, TURN TO PAGE 4 FOR THE FULL STORY

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CHANGES... George Eliot Hospital faces a radical-shake-up of its services.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jun 15, 2006
Words:260
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