Man in charge is ‘unconvinced’

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Since hearing about the health trust’s review of Corbar Birth Centre, many High Peak mums as well as local councillors have expressed concerns about babies being born on the A6 as expectant women make their way to Stepping Hill Hospital should the plans go ahead - but the man in charge of the health trust was unconvinced of this issue. Speaking to the Buxton Advertiser last week, David Sharp, chief executive of the NHS Derby City and NHS Derbyshire County cluster said: “If I thought that was the reality, I wouldn’t be embarking on this.

“We have a pattern of provision by which cancer patients don’t die on the A6 or heart patients don’t die on the A6.

“The births that we had at the unit last year were not emergencies. People walked up on a pre-planned basis so we do tend to have some order in this.”

But Mr Sharp said he did not dismiss fears over the issue completely as he wanted to hear about people’s experiences during the consultation.

“I’m not dismissing the story because I’m not a woman in labour in Buxton town centre but it seems to have a mythology that’s bigger than the facts to me,” he commented.

“The vast majority of women in this area actually have their births in birthing units outside of Corbar and there’s something that they get out of that experience which is not the distress of giving birth on the A6.

“It will be part of the public debate.”

The trust have said that they are reviewing the future of Corbar Birth Centre as part of plans to make significant savings as demand for NHS services increases but with plans afoot for a new community hospital in Buxton, aiming to bring in new services to the town and eliminate the need for people to travel elsewhere for some appointments, the Advertiser asked: why can’t a state of the art maternity unit be incorporated into that?

Mr Sharp replied: “That’s a good question and I think that without trying to prejudge the public debate that will be the type of question we’ll get.

“We have a model in mind about how we think maternity services should be located. That doesn’t mean that there’s not a different model for older people’s services or learning disability services or chest infections.

“So it’s really judged on a service-by-service basis where people tend to look at it in terms of a hospital-by-hospital basis.

“It’s not a blank cheque. If we build a new hospital in Buxton it will have to be based on where money was being saved elsewhere in the NHS system.”