The Engagement period concerning the future of Darley Birth Centre started on 1st August. The Primary Care Trust (PCT) has issued a small leaflet and YouTube video featuring a staged interview with the Chairman of the PCT, David Sharp. The video and leaflet can be found on the homepage of the League of Friends website at www.mhlof.co.uk
In the video Mr Sharp covers a number of the arguments put forward by those trying to save Darley. It is a consummate performance but again fails to offer any figures on costs at Darley and surprisingly dismisses post-natal care where new mums can have a few days at Darley after birth, as ‘unnecessary’ and of ‘no clinical gain’, and unnecessarily adding that birth ‘is not an illness’! In fact, the PCT’s own Review document mentions there is little evidence either for or against clinical gain at units such as Darley. If there is no evidence there may actually be a gain, but the PCT has taken no evidence to mean no gain.
The issues of extra travel and extreme weather are also sidelined despite the transport study in the same Review document showing that changes will ‘significantly increase journey times’. As reported previously, the reason for cancellation of the Open Day being poor weather does not seem to apply in the opposite direction towards Chesterfield.
The Chairman of the PCT also vehemently insists that Darley has been promoted. However, he only mentions the wide coverage gained by campaigners around the closure in 2007/8, but not promotion made by the NHS since then. Considering that closure is clearly what the PCT is striving for, it was then surprising that an online video was issued in February this year when the review process had already been secretly started by the PCT four months before (the Review was not public knowledge until May this year).
The Business Plan Mr Sharp refers to was issued by campaigners in
2007/8. It indicated that a significant increase in the number of
births was possible but strong ongoing promotion was necessary in the whole of Derbyshire and neighbouring areas of South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. It also advocated recruitment of a part-time Business Manager to handle promotion. The NHS appears to have adopted the ‘increased births’ part of the plan but not some significant other parts required to achieve the increase.
There will be two public meetings in September where the PCT will present their case, but the Engagement process started on 1st August.
The public can make their feelings known by visiting www.mhlof.co.uk where there are links to the new leaflet, Matlock Mercury petitions and the new video. It is also possible to take part in an online survey provided by the PCT. Mr Sharp states he is looking for comments over and above a ‘generalised fear and concern’ about what might happen if Darley is closed so expanded comments to the PCT will help the campaign immeasurably.
Matlock Hospitals League of Friends