The Darley birth centre has been saved from closure once before thanks to the community which fought to keep it open.
At the time everyone cheered and most of us assumed that with the high levels of publicity it had then mums-to-be would be queuing to use the facilities.
But it seems once again the centre could be at risk because too few women are choosing to give birth there.
Only four used it in October and that is clearly not enough to justify its existence.
Low level of use for anything these days instantly puts it on the radar of those managers whose job it is to simply cut costs with no need to know why it was there in the first place.
Look at the fiasco over the school sports funding and Mr Gove’s subsequent U-turn if you want an example of someone not finding out the worth of a service before axing it from the bottom line.
I am sure the local NHS bosses will be thorough with their review – but at the end of the day they have to make savings and they are going to pick on the services which are used the least and subsequently affect the least number of people.
So it is down to the pregnant women in this community to check out the birth centre and make use of it before, during and after the birth of their child.
One of the reasons given for a low take-up at the centre is a lack of awareness – that has to be simple enough to sort.
The GPs just need to inform all newly-pregnant woman that it is there and that it would be a great place for them to use.
If they want a more natural relaxed birth away from a busy hospital ward – but with the back up not available at home then Darley is perfect.
All the GPs have to do is hand the mums-to-be a leaflet or direct them to the centre’s website and suggest they pop in and meet the staff.
It is then down to them to use it. If they don’t eventually it will be closed – finances simply won’t let it sit there under-used for ever.
Amanda Hatfield, editor