Midwives are told: your jobs are safe

HEALTH BOSSES have said this week that no midwives are to be made redundant when Buxton’s Corbar Birth Centre closes in July.

However, midwifery assistants who may not want or be able to travel to work at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport could have the option of voluntary redundancy.

A statement from Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, who run Corbar Birth Centre, said: “We can confirm that no midwives from Corbar Birth Centre will be made redundant.

“We are holding appropriate vacancies for the midwifery assistants and talking to them about these. Some of these staff however may not want, or be able to travel to, an alternative post in Stockport. In these cases, voluntary redundancy may be an option.

“It is important to note that we will continue to provide antenatal care, home births and post-natal care in the High Peak. We also offer an excellent midwifery service at Stepping Hill Hospital which has been nationally recognised as one of the best in England.”

In December, members of NHS Derby City and NHS Derbyshire County cluster board voted unanimously to close Corbar Birth Centre and the Darley Birth Centre in Darley Dale, for births from July 1, under cost-cutting plans.

But it is still not yet clear how maternity services for High Peak women will operate from that date.

And campaigners have been querying why a meeting to help shape the provision of the services in the High Peak hasn’t been held, when people living in the Darley catchment area were asked for their views at a meeting last week.

NHS Derbyshire County said: “In the High Peak area, the High Peak Maternity Services Liaison Committee (MSLC), which is a well-established group and includes a number of user representatives, is actively engaged in discussions around the re-commissioning of maternity services in the High Peak.

“Maternity Services Liaison Committees (MSLCs) are the independent advisory committee to the PCT and are set up to inform the development and improvement of local maternity services.

“It was therefore felt that in the High Peak, this was the appropriate forum for such discussions to take place. “Additional meetings of the group have been set up to ensure regular input into and feedback from the project team and if users wish to join the group, they can do so by contacting the PALS team on 0800 032 32 35.

“The Dales area is covered by the North Derbyshire MSLC which covers a much wider geographic area and therefore it was felt that the MSLC meeting alone would not be able to provide the local user input needed from the Dales area.

“The PCT took the decision therefore to set up a separate user reference group for this area in order to ensure user input into the process going forward.

“In addition to the above, both project teams have user representation at the meetings.”

And the trust added: “There have been a number of project team and Maternity Service Liaison Committee (MSLC) meetings to date to work through the model options going forward.

“The Project Group and MSLC have prioritised the benefits they want to see from the re-commissioned maternity services, and are now working up the detail of the new models with local clinicians and service users.

“As part of this process the groups will be ensuring, as far as possible, that issues raised over the past few months are addressed.

“It is anticipated that at the meetings in April and May the exact model of service provision will be finalised.

“To date, the group has agreed that the midwifery base will be located in Buxton Hospital, the antenatal parenting classes will continue in their current locations, scans will continue to be provided at Buxton Hospital and there will also be one extended evening a week for antenatal/postnatal appointments/drop in.

“The provision of a robust homebirth service and breastfeeding support remain a priority and the groups are working through how to address these.”