THE WAY maternity services are to be provided in the High Peak once Buxton’s Corbar Birth Centre closes next month has been unveiled.
The re-provision of maternity services in the area was described to locals at a public meeting held at Buxton’s Pavilion Gardens last week by Sally Baughen, programme lead for maternity services with NHS Derbyshire County, and Julie Estcourt, head of midwifery at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust.
It follows the decision of the NHS Derby City and NHS Derbyshire County cluster in December to close Corbar Birth Centre, and the Darley Birth Centre in Darley Dale, for births as part of cost-cutting plans.
Once Corbar closes on July 1, High Peak women will be left with the choice of using the maternity units at Stockport’s Stepping Hill Hospital or Macclesfield District General Hospital, or if they are eligible, having a home birth.
And on some nights, there will only be one midwife on duty to cover the whole of the High Peak, the meeting heard.
Midwives will continue to have a base at Buxton Hospital but there will no longer be 24/7 access to them. Instead, any women who need advice or help from a midwife will need to make an appointment first.
Ms Estcourt said: “We care passionately about maternity services moving forward.
“As a provider of maternity services we are very much signed up to care closer to home wherever possible.
“It’s about the right local service for local women.
“We have been able to retain a base for midwives at Buxton Hospital. They will be in touch with women locally to provide care throughout but it is not going to be manned 24/7 as it is currently and that is a big change.”
She added: “We are keen to offer a robust home birth service in the High Peak area. Just before Christmas, a national survey said it is safe for women to have babies at home if they have had an uncomplicated pregnancy where there are no problems and that is certainly a choice we want to offer to local women in the area.
“The out-of-hours provision will be two midwives on call some nights. One some nights it will be a midwife and an assistant practitioner,” she said.
“There may be more than one woman in labour in the High Peak at any one time and obviously we will have other midwives on call from Stockport.”
She added that there will be a drop-in centre type facility but that women will need to make appointments with their midwife or through their GP before using it.