Friends hit back at NHS answers

Matlock Hospitals League of Friends has hit back at NHS chiefs who are reviewing the future of Darley Birth Centre.

Last week Dr David Black, medical director of NHS Derbyshire County PCT and Sarah Turner-Saint, head of communications at Chesterfield Royal Hospital answered the Mercury’s questions about the unit.

But campaigners say their replies only scratch the surface of the issues surrounding the threatened centre.

In a letter to the Mercury the League writes: “Both the review and the reply are lamentably lacking in factual details. The cost of birth at the centre varies with every telling. It does not take into account the additional costs after closure. The mid-wives at Darley will be needed at the hospital or for home birth, being the only two options left.

“During the last closure home births rose dramatically and with it the cost of two mid-wives at each birth and the cost of travel and time. Birth in a mid-wife led centre would appear to be more economical on both.”

The NHS reply also states that it does not seem “sensible or wise” for mums-to-be to be travelling in less than ideal conditions.

The League adds: “Does the PCT expect women to go to Chesterfield to give birth whatever the weather? Birth cannot be cancelled like an open day.”

Chairman of the group Di Dakin said: “They are defensive replies which do not explain the decision to close Darley Birth Centre as the method of saving money.

“A centre of excellence should not be sacrificed to produce the lowest common denominator of service – our babies are our future.”

n To read the League’s full letter go to