DARLEY D-DAY! - One week left in fight to save birthing unit

Don't Ditch Darley: Freinds, mothers, father and children born at Darley Birth Centre, like Lily Lockett, six, her brother Timothy, three, and newest arrival baby Georgina, born on the 28th May to her mother Claire Hendry, show the strength of thier feeling over the proposed closure.
Don't Ditch Darley: Freinds, mothers, father and children born at Darley Birth Centre, like Lily Lockett, six, her brother Timothy, three, and newest arrival baby Georgina, born on the 28th May to her mother Claire Hendry, show the strength of thier feeling over the proposed closure.

The fight to save Darley Birth Centre is reaching a close with only one week left until D-Day.

The campaign has been backed by residents, families and councillors but this week was dealt a set-back – when Dales GPs said the unit should close.

NHS bosses asked doctors for their response as part of the major review in to the future of the midwife-run centre at Darley Dale.

A spokesman from the board of North Derbyshire clinical commissioning group said: “We support the decommissioning of the delivery suite at Darley Birth Centre based on the evidence presented.”

Supporters say they are “disappointed” by the GPs’ response but still hope health bosses will decide to save Darley when the board meet for the final time on Wednesday, December 7.

Richard Hollingworth of Matlock Hospitals League of Friends, which has provided vital support and raised funds for the birth centre, said: “People will be very upset if it closes.

“The issue of alternative arrangements and the details of the amount of money the closure of Darley could save have not been properly answered.”

He added: “If the centre was given an extra six months or a year we think it should be widely promoted or we’d be back in the same situation.”

Health chiefs say the centre is too expensive and the number of births a year is only 100.

But campaigners argue that NHS figures do not include mothers who received postnatal and antenatal care at the centre.

The League of Friends say they will look at taking their fight to the Secretary of State – if the NHS decides to close Darley.

Derbyshire County Council has carried out a health scrutiny as part of the review – and has concluded that the NHS’s engagement process has not been adequate.

Members of the improvement and scrutiny committee, which met this month, also said the proposal to close the centre was not in the interest of the Health Service for Derbyshire.

If Darley closes, the committee could also look at making a referral to the Secretary of State.

A spokesman for Derbyshire Primary Care Trust said: “As with all key stakeholders we will be taking the improvement and scrutiny committee’s views into account when we make our Board decision on December 7.”

The Mercury launched a Don’t Ditch Darley campaign in May in a bid to safeguard the future of the birth centre and in September handed over a petition signed by 3,260 people who want to see the centre saved.