Midwives from west Cumbria have published an open letter warning that "mothers and babies will die" if consultant-led maternity care is removed from the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven.
In the letter, published on the We Love West Cumberland Hospital Facebook page, the midwives urge North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust to retain consultants in the area.
They point to the long journey women suffering from birth complications would need to make, from west Cumbria to the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, if services were to be downgraded.
Are consultant-led maternity services under threat?
The government's Success Regime was set up to improve healthcare in west, north and east Cumbria, following serious problems with the NHS Trusts running services in the region.
Amongst those issues are recruitment problems, and a multi-million pound debt for the West Cumberland Hospital.
The Success Regime has outlined a series of possible options for changing healthcare in west Cumbria, including the possibility of removing consultant-led maternity care from west Cumbria.
Consultant-led care would be retained in Carlisle.
The downgrading of maternity care is only a possibility at this stage, however it is causing significant concern amongst people in Cumbria, as well as staff at the West Cumberland Hospital.
Midwives' letter in full
The following letter from midwives in west Cumbria was published on the We Need West Cumberland Hospital Facebook page.
It is addressed to Stephen Eames, the Chief Executive of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust.
Dear Mr. Eames