Friends call for PCT’s answers

Matlock Hospitals League of Friends has stepped up its campaign to save Darley Birth Centre by asking an open question to the Primary Care Trust in the Mercury.

The group is questioning the lack of financial detail in the review of the unit’s future and wants to know how the PCT will fund the promised continuance of care if Darley Birth Centre is closed.

They state: “The PCT carefully avoid the question of a site for the promised ante-natal and post-natal sessions and completely ignore the present drop-in facility.

“If the PCT continues to site these sessions at the Birth Centre, how will they finance the site and its upkeep and how will they find and finance the midwives to run the sessions? If the sessions are sited elsewhere, such as GP surgeries, do they have the room for them? Again, how will the site and staff be financed?

“The PCT barely mention staff and midwives in the review. Will the PCT make them redundant, offer early retirement or continue to pay their wages while working at Chesterfield Royal Hospital or in the community?

“Has the Royal Hospital in Chesterfield sufficient space and the extra midwives needed for the additional births? Has the PCT accounted for the extra time, travel and fuel needed and the requirement for two midwives at a home birth? This is not included in the so-called savings.

“The entire concept of closing the centre to make savings is flawed since if the PCT is saving money then the money is not there to spend elsewhere. The quoted figures are vague and misleading and do not account for the consequences of closure.

“If the centre is closed, what will become of the local community’s investment? The public has a right to know the plan for the future and how the PCT will finance the inevitable extra costs.”

Pam Wildgoose, secretary of the League, summed up the group’s question by saying: “It is high time that the PCT came up with some detailed and accurate figures on the possible closure together with projected ongoing costs for the next few years.”

n The Mercury will be printing the response to the League’s questions to the PCT in next week’s paper.