It took around 40 minutes for health bosses to come to their conclusion – that Darley Birth Centre should close.
In the NHS Derby City and Derbyshire County Cluster Board meeting in Derby on Wednesday, December 7, supporters of the Darley Dale unit gave a sigh of disappointment as the decision was officially announced.
David Sharp, the PCT Cluster chief executive, thanked the campaigners for their input to the review and said it had all been carefully considered. However Mr Sharp said his recommendation to the PCT Board was unchanged and that closure of Darley the Corbar Birth Centre was the right thing given the evidence, lack of support from the GPs and financial constraints.
Mr Sharp said: “I continue to make a recommendation that decommissioning of Corbar and Darley takes place from July 1 2012.”
Board members voted unanimously in favour of the recommendation.
Low risk women in the Dales who were able to give birth at Darley will now have to choose whether to have a home birth or give birth in Chesterfield.
The decision has horrified campaigners who have been fighting to save the unit since the review was revealed in the Mercury in May.
The only glimmer of hope for Darley now rests with Derbyshire County Council’s Improvement and Scrutiny Committee who have the option to refer the trust’s decision to close the unit to the Secretary of State for Health.
If the committee did agree this at either a special meeting or their next committee date of January 11, they would then have to state their case and the Health Secretary would have to decide whether the Independent Reconfiguration Panel should look at the issue in further detail.
Matlock Hospitals League of Friends, which has campaigned against the closure, said they would support this decision.
Chairman Diana Dakin said: “I don’t think they have been transparent about the costs or what alternative services will be in place.
“Darley is such an important facility for the area and everyone will be devastated by this news.”