THE threat to close Buxton’s Corbar Birth Centre has prompted a heartbroken couple to speak out about how the unit helped them when they lost their baby earlier this year.
In January, Judith and Tim Foad’s son Zak was stillborn at Macclesfield Hospital – but the couple, of Fairfield Road, say the support they have had from Corbar has made a massive difference in helping them cope with the tragedy. “All the midwives at Corbar were absolutely fantastic,” Judith, 38, said. “But two, Diane Fletcher and Carol Bates were particularly fantastic to me on a personal level.
“Their support, particularly Carol because she was there from the start, has helped me mentally because you can’t help but get down with something like this.
“Knowing she’s there and I can talk to her helps.
“I firmly believe that if it hadn’t been for her, I would not have been able to cope at all. Because I know the midwives and have had that continuity of care, I’ve been able to ask them questions and they’ve given me honest answers.
“I even asked them how do I tell my son Daniel that his brother’s died – and she said I’ll come with you if you want. Nobody at Macclesfield offered me advice as to how to tell my five-year-old that his brother had died.”
Her husband Tim, 51, added: “In our position, I suspect Stepping Hill and Macclesfield could not have hoped to give us the level of support we have had from Corbar. That is not any disrespect to them – they’re just too busy.
“We have heard that Stepping Hill deals with over 3,000 births a year.”
Judith added: “When I left Macclesfield they said somebody will ring you next week to see how you are doing.
“Five months on and we still await the call. But the midwives from Corbar are still at the end of the phone, they still ring me or still pop out to see me.
“In a bigger unit, you don’t necessarily have the same midwife and that is what the community will lose if Corbar was to close, the continuity of care and the personal side of it.
“If Corbar were to be lost, I’d be devastated.”
When Judith went into labour, she went straight to Corbar where she was examined and her baby’s heartbeat checked but when staff picked up a problem, they immediately called an ambulance to transfer her to Macclesfield. However, just a few minutes after arriving there, Judith and Tim’s son was sadly stillborn.
Without the facility of Corbar, the unpredicted and unexpected speed of events would almost certainly have seen this incident occur in a car, en route to the main hospital and probably with no trained medical supervision. Tim & Judith accept the outcome for baby Zak would have been no different, but the increased risk to Judith and the additional long term emotional effect of the extra trauma, would have left the need for much longer term care and support of the family and all the costs associated with that.
Although as Tim commented: “That wouldn’t concern the PCT, as most of those costs would be hidden costs & not come out of the ‘maternity budget.
“In the current economic climate every organisation has a duty to look at costs, but the clever organisations will be those that use the circumstances to better utilise the services that they and the community have already invested in.
“Based on figures of 167 births resulting in a cost of £2000 per birth, perhaps a better approach would be to look at the real reasons why there were only 167 births at Corbar and what the cost per birth would have come down to if 167 births had been increased to 267 births. After all the facility to handle them is already in place at Corbar.”