TRAVELLING to Buxton’s Corbar Birth Centre takes an average of 52 minutes by public transport, a report by the health trust reviewing its future has said.
NHS Derbyshire County have compiled the report as part of a business case as they review the future of Corbar as part of plans to make significant savings. The report looks at access to Corbar via public transport and states that of the 48 communities included, only one, Flagg, could not make the journey by public transport. It adds that the mean, or average, journey time by public transport is 52 minutes with a range from six to 109 minutes and that eleven journeys by public transport could be done without a change, 26 needed one change and ten needed two changes. The mean time by car is 21 minutes with a range from three to 39 minutes. The mean mileage was 10.3 with a range from 1.2 to 20.1 miles. If Corbar was to be closed for births, women would then have to travel to Stepping Hill, 18 miles away, or Macclesfield Hospital, a distance of 13 miles, to give birth. Both routes have their own problems with the A6 to Stockport already heavily congested and the A537 Macclesfield Road repeatedly being classified as Britain’s most dangerous road.
The report says that for those communities who are in the catchment area of Corbar and Darley, the mean journey time by public transport to the closest District General Hospital (DGH) was 83 minutes with a range from 21 to 177. It added that nine of the journeys could be completed without a change, 42 needed one change, 51 needed two changes and two required three changes. However, there were eight communities, including Flagg and Sheldon, who could not access a DGH by public transport. In these cases, the mean mileage is 13.9 miles with a range from 6.3 to 22.9 miles. The mean time by car was 32 minutes with a range from 14 to 53 minutes.
The report concludes:
1) Corbar and Darley maternity units have provided a valued service to families within their areas for many years.
2) This report only comments on two aspects of the proposed changes; travel to these units and the nearest DGH providing full maternity services
3) Travel times to Corbar and Darley by car and public transport are similar to travel times from communities in the rest of Derbyshire to the nearest DGH providing full maternity care in the rest of care
4) However, changing the services at these two units will significantly increase journey times for women and their relatives who use them if their care is now at their nearest DGH.
5) There are a number of communities which do not have public transport access to Darley and Corbar units; more do not have access to their nearest DGH providing maternity services. This pattern is repeated to greater effect at the second and third closest DGHs.
6) Neither Corbar nor Darley serve the area south of Ashbourne where there is no daily public transport and irrespective of any changes proposed consideration needs to be given to access issues for women who do not have a car.
The trust have previously said that “there is no evidence to show that giving birth in a birthing centre is safer than a home birth, nor more clinically effective” and that the “location of the units means that this service is not available equitably to all of the county’s patients.”