Maternity services in Dales revealed

Health bosses have announced plans for the future of maternity services in the Dales.

NHS Derbyshire County held a meeting to discuss options for mothers in light of their decision to close the Darley Birth Centre, at Whitworth Hospital.

The centre will close as of July 1, after which mothers will be forced to look for alternative arrangements.

The controversial move to close the Darley and Corbar birth centres was made in a bid to save cash.

It has now been announced that Darley Birth Centre will be open seven days a week from 8am until 4pm for postnatal and antenatal patients.

The health service will be appointing community midwives to support women in the area, they will also be stepping up the breastfeeding support available.

Diana Dakin, chairman of Matlock Hospital’s League of Friends, fought for the centre to remain open, and has since voiced her concerns that the proposed measures may be insufficient to make up for the loss of the local facility.

“The main thing I would like to know is whether they will be able to put all these provisions in place in time for the centre’s closure,” she said.

“The whole point of the exercise was in fact financial and Chesterfield hospital has insisted they can provide the extra beds and they are talking about reorganising one of the wards.”

Diana pointed out that if the birth centre was going to remain open during the day, the health service would still need to pay for it, she also questioned whether community midwives would have a good knowledge of the rural areas.

Sally Savage, assistant director of commissioning for NHS Derbyshire County, said there was always a possibility of midwives getting lost, but that they would keep extensive notes on each mother with information such as directions to their homes in a bid to try and prevent this.

“There will be a community team based at Darley, so they will develop experience and knowledge of the area,” she said.

“When we went to the board in December we aimed to save between £2million and £3.7million over five years from the two birth centres.

“We are now looking at savings of just over £3million across both venues across the five years so we are still in the middle.”