We want answers on Darley closure

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Why is Darley Birth Centre threatened with closure when Prime Minister David Cameron says he wants mums-to-be to have choices?

And why are mums and the Friends of Matlock’s hospitals telling the Mercury that people are being actively discouraged from using Darley when lack of births is the cause of the problem?

One mum told us yesterday that for her first pregnancy her midwife knew nothing of the centre and during her second she was discouraged from using it.

She said: “My first little boy was due in November 2007 and I wasn’t told about the centre. I contacted them myself, and when I told my midwife she said that she’d heard of it but she didn’t know of anyone who had given birth there and made me feel that it wasn’t a viable option. I only managed to transfer to Darley through my own determination.

“On my second pregnancy I knew that I wanted to go to Darley again. When I told my midwife she said ‘I’ll pretend I never heard that, as there will be issues about your funding’.”

Pam Wildgoose, of Matlock Hospitals League of Friends, said: “The birth rate rose when the unit re-opened in 2008. Publicity then appeared to cease and many midwives were not offering the option of a midwife-led centre. Some midwives didn’t know Darley existed.”

She also claimed that the last open day planned at the centre was cancelled.

The Friends have asked for an explanation as to why Chesterfield Royal Hospital is not promoting the Darley unit to expectant mums and want everyone to see David Cameron’s answer to a question in the House of Commons last week (see page one).

However in a letter to the Mercury this week (see page 8) doctors are warning that something’s got to give.

A spokesman for doctors at Imperial Road Surgery and Lime Grove Medical Centre said: “We agree with the fact that Darley Birth Centre is a quality unit. We hope that people will hear the reality of the situation that if Darley is kept open, some other services will not receive money and therefore not be provided.”

In a separate statement to the Press this week, Dr Ben Milton, chair of North Derbyshire clinical commissioning group said: “We will have a strong say in the final decision and we will work closely with the PCT in redesigning local antenatal and postnatal services should it be decided that the birth centre should close.”