Over 3,200 of our readers have spoken and told NHS chiefs – Don’t Ditch Darley!
Mercury editor Amanda Hatfield handed over a petition of 3,260 signatures to David Black, medical director of NHS Derbyshire and Mark Todd, chair of Derbyshire cluster of Primary Care Trusts at a public meeting on Monday.
We have been gathering signatures from people who want to see the centre saved since May – after cash-strapped health bosses announced the unit was under threat.
The meeting, at the Whitworth Centre, was the second chance for people to make their views heard on the future of Darley Birth Centre.
Amanda said: “This is one of the highest numbers of signatures I have ever handed over. This petition reflects the strength of feelings about the proposals in the community.”
Families packed in to the centre in Darley Dale to make their views heard.
Dr Black said: “This is all about choices. We know how much these services are valued as this petition shows.”
Mums and Dads raised issues about the centre not being advertising, problems with travelling to Chesterfield and breast feeding and emotional support being lost if Darley was to close.
District councillor David Burton, of Darley Dale, said: “We represent rural communities and it seems to me time and time again that rural communities are being sold short.
“I say this money is well spent for our community. This is a valuable resource we want to retain.”
One dad said: “I’m a first time father and I didn’t know what to do but I got as much support as my partner at Darley.
“Without them pushing breast feeding it would not have happened for us.
“For four days and nights they got us through and I really hope that unit stays open for that.”
Dr Black said if the unit closed they would review postnatal and antenatal care and they wanted to make sure all women who give birth get good care.
He added that only ‘low-risk’ women could give birth at Draley and these women could also be able to opt for a home birth.
“It is very difficult to talk about money when people love and value something very much. But we would save at least £300,000 if Darley closes,” he said.
People can also have their say by downloading the engagement document at the Matlock Hospitals League of Friends website. Vists www.mhlof.co.uk
The engagement period lasts until October 23 .
A final decision will be made by the NHS Derby City and NHS Derbyshire County Cluster Board in November.
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