Facebook Friends Of Silver Star Unit Oxford John Radcliffe

TRIUMPHANT - Silver Star Ward Safe over Summer 2010.

Yesterday it was announced that Level 6 with the Silver Star Inpatient Ward will not close this summer, and that all will return to normal on 27th September. This is excellent news. It is a triumph for the supporters of the Silver Star Charity who have worked so hard in so many different ways: letter writing, getting the petition going, running the Savesilverstar campaign on Facebook, contacting MPs, the press, doing interviews …endless inventive and spontaneous ideas. Great thanks are also due to the staff, especially the consultants who run the Silver Star Service for working so hard in the background, despite a very heavy workload, to achieve this end, and to the support of the midwives and other staff who have encouraged and supported us in so many ways. Another big round of thanks needs to go to our new patron, Armando Iannucci, who had only just got on board with us, when he found that he had to start fighting for our survival, rather than just opening fetes and supporting our fundraising events! We hope once the dust has settled he might find it provides him with some interesting writing opportunities! He has been a Star and has earned his spurs!

A real triumph was the absolute solidarity between staff, patients and the Silver Star Society working to safe-guard the Silver Star Service and the safety of all mothers and babies who come to the JR maternity service. This team work made all the difference. We also pay tribute to management for acting responsibly on the information provided by the campaign to ensure the safety of all mothers and babies coming to the hospital this summer, and negotiating this solution. We hope that the talking and listening continues and becomes the rule rather than the exception.

However, we do still have concerns. Little of this agreement is in writing. We have had bad experiences with promises and guarantees in the last 12 months. This is the second round of the battle to save the Silver Star Ward/ Service as an integrated unit. We fear that the war still has not been won.

• We have had no guarantees from the Trust Board on the long-term future of the Silver Star Society.

• Although there is a verbal promise that consultants and other clinical staff will be involved in future planning for maternity services, there is nothing in writing. The proof will be in the conduct of management in the next few weeks and months.

We also need to remember that though we have scored some success as a campaigning organisation, our real role is to fundraise and support the clinical and research activities of the Silver Star Society… so keep going with the fundraising and the ideas. Prof says that we’ve raised over £1m in the lifetime of the charity… BRILLIANT… and it has done so much good. Emma King has suggested that we do a Silver Star Walk round an Oxford park with buggies and supporters in silver to raise funds. We think it’s a great idea… are you up for it? We’ll announce details in the next few weeks…

Therefore, while we may raise a glass to celebrate the winning of Round 2 of Save the Silver Star campaign, we need to remain sober and watchful for any backsliding! We may have a round or two to go yet, so we need to limber up for walking and campaigning in the autumn!

Silver Star Society, Wednesday, 21st July 2010