Health bosses respond to birth centre questions

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Last week Matlock Hospitals’ League of Friends asked an open question to the Primary Care Trust.

The campaigners wanted answers about the lack of financial details in the review of Darley Birth Centre’s future.

Sally Savage, assistant director of children’s commissioning at NHS Derbyshire met with the group to answer the questions.

She said: “Chesterfield Royal Hospital provides a whole range of services including ante and postnatal care, antenatal parenting classes and provision of both midwifery-led and obstetric-led services to support women during labour at Chesterfield Royal Hospital and Darley Birth Centre.

“These services are paid for by the PCT at a rate set based on a combination of local and national prices. If the current 100 deliveries no longer happened at Darley, they would happen at people’s homes or in the hospital and we would pay for them and the associated ante and postnatal care as we currently do now.

“For births at Darley we pay an additional lump sum and pay for some ambulance transfers from the unit to hospital. If Darley were to close it is this money that we would save after taking into account additional costs such as travel and renting alternative premises. Our best estimate is that these savings will be over £300,000 a year. The reason it is a “best estimate” is because, if the decision is taken to close Darley, we want to work with the local GP commissioners to decide where best to provide local antenatal and postnatal services.

“We are confident that the maternity provision at Chesterfield Royal is sufficient. We have significantly invested in our maternity services to support both an increase in midwives and a number of other changes including offering a wider choice of antenatal and postnatal provision and the employment of midwifery support workers.”