Council backs our campaign

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THE FIGHT to save Buxton’s Corbar Birth Centre has been given the backing of both county and borough councillors this week.

Members of High Peak Borough Council’s Community Select Committee agreed to object to the plans to close Corbar when they met on Monday night.

The committee will now write to NHS Derbyshire County to formally oppose their plans, and explain their reasons for doing so.

And last week members of Derbyshire County Council’s Improvement and Scrutiny Committee agreed that NHS Derbyshire County’s engagement process had not been adequate and the proposal was not in the interest of the health service for Derbyshire.

The county council may now refer the trust’s plan to close Corbar to the Secretary of State for Health.

Depending on the decision made by the NHS Derbyshire County board at their meeting on December 7, the county council’s Improvement and Scrutiny committee would then have to formally agree to a referral to the Health Secretary, and this would take place at either a special meeting or on the next committee meeting date of January 11.

If a referral is made, the committee would then have to state its case and the Secretary of State would decide whether the Independent Reconfiguration Panel should look at the issue in further detail or not.

However, this process is expected to take some time so any decisions would be delayed.

The county council will also write to the PCT confirming their decisions and giving their reasons.

The PCT must then take this into consideration when making their decision.

NHS Derbyshire County are reviewing the future of Corbar, and the Darley Birth Centre in Darley Dale, as part of cost-cutting plans as demand for NHS services increases.

They have said they are reviewing only where births take place and that all antenatal/postnatal appointments and antenatal classes would continue to be provided locally.

And they have also said that keeping the two birth centres open would cost them around £3 million over the next five years.

In September, the Buxton Advertiser revealed how closing Corbar would save the trust just £187,000 a year, just £50,000 more than chief executive David Sharp’s annual salary.

The campaign has also been boosted this week by a report from the Royal College of Midwives, which said that providing more midwife-led units such as Corbar, will help reduce England’s current midwife shortage, which is reaching crisis point because of increasing birth rates.

l A final decision on Corbar’s future will be made at the NHS Derby City and NHS Derbyshire County Cluster board meeting on December 7.