HIGH PEAK people took to the streets at the weekend as the campaign to save Buxton’s Corbar Birth Centre gathered pace.
Support for the under-threat unit at Buxton Hospital is growing rapidly with more than 1,700 people signing a petition calling on the health trust to save the vital service during an action day held on Saturday.
The action day was jointly organised by the National Childbirth Trust-led Save Corbar Birth Centre (SCBC) group and High Peak MP Andrew Bingham.
Campaigners were out in force in Buxton, New Mills, Whaley Bridge and Glossop to collect signatures as part of the fight to try and safeguard Corbar, which is being reviewed by NHS Derbyshire County as part of plans to make significant savings as demand for NHS services increases.
The trust have said they are looking only at where births take place and that all antenatal/postnatal appointments and antenatal classes as well as scans will continue to be provided locally.
However, if Corbar were to close, women would be forced to travel 18 miles to Stockport’s Stepping Hill Hospital or Macclesfield Hospital, 13 miles away to give birth.
Fiona Lichfield, from the Save Corbar Birth Centre group, said: “It’s apparent from our petition signing on Saturday that people living in the High Peak want to save Corbar not just for its strategic location but more importantly to keep the centre’s midwives here.
“We heard countless stories of Corbar’s midwives going above the call of duty to care for women and babies from the area.
“It was a very heart-warming experience.”
She added: “On behalf of SCBC, I’d like to thank everyone who signed up to our campaign to keep Corbar Birth Centre alive.
“Saturday’s support shows that we have the backing of the High Peak.”
High Peak MP Andrew Bingham collected signatures in Buxton on Saturday morning before heading across to New Mills to help with the petition there.
He said: “It was great to be out and about with volunteers from the NCT, speaking to people and getting their support for Corbar.
“A lot of volunteers turned up to collect signatures, and I’d like to thank them all for braving the weather, as we managed to get over 1,700 signatures on the petition from across the High Peak place on this facility.
“I hope the amount of names we’ve got on this petition will help persuade (NHS Derbyshire County and NHS Derby City cluster chief executive) David Sharp and (cluster chairman) Mark Todd that Corbar Birth Centre is a vital facility for both new parents and parents-to-be.”
In just six hours, a total of 1,738 people signed the petition with 940 signatures collected in Buxton, where support also came from Buxton councillors Pam Reddy and Robin Baldry.
In New Mills, 277 signatures were collected with 247 in Whaley Bridge and 274 in Glossop.
Last month, NHS Derbyshire County agreed to go ahead with a period of public engagement on the future of Corbar Birth Centre.
A pre-engagement phase, which will involve speaking to key stakeholders such as the Maternity Services Liaison Committee and the development of a formal engagement document will run until July 20.
The next phase will be formal engagement, which will run from August 1 to October 23 and involve members of the public responding to the engagement document. There will also be public meetings.
A final decision on whether to close Corbar Birth Centre is expected in November.
Darley Birth Centre in Darley Dale is also under threat as part of the review.
* Copies of the petition are available to sign at shops and offices across the High Peak, including the Buxton Advertiser office at 10 Scarsdale Place, Buxton. To find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
* A separate event is being planned for Chapel-en-le-Frith at a later date.