Revealed: losing unit will save just £187k

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CLOSING Corbar Birth Centre would only save the NHS £187,000 a year, the Buxton Advertiser can reveal this week – just £50,000 more than chief executive David Sharp’s annual salary.

The figure was revealed to the Advertiser on Wednesday after High Peak Borough councillors quizzed members of the health trust at a meeting on Monday night.

Then, councillors were told the figure was not available because negotiations were still on-going as to how services would be provided if Corbar was closed for births,. But the PCT have now oncluded their contract negotiations with Stockport NHS Foundation Trust and revealed the amount.

At the meeting of the borough council’s Community Select Committee on Monday, Cllr Victoria Mann questioned how much closing the birth centres would save the trust.

She said: “I can’t find anywhere how much the savings are going to be. It’s very difficult to decide without knowing how much is going to be saved.”

Sally Savage, the PCT’s assistant director of commissioning with responsibility for children’s and maternity services, replied: “At the moment we pay £1213 for a low risk birth with no complications wherever that takes place.

“For births at Corbar and Darley, we pay the organisation that runs these two units a lump sum in addition to cover additional costs around those units.

“We know what these additional costs are. The reason it is not public what the savings might be, is we are still in negotiations with the two organisations about these costs. We are currently talking about just stopping deliveries that happen at Corbar and Darley and what we have said is we want to continue to provide locally antenatal and postnatal services should the decision be taken to stop births.

“Secondly, we will need to discuss with the commissioners of the future, ie the GPs about providing these services. We are only able to estimate what this might cost.”

Cllr John Haken added: “I’m concerned that uniformity of cost is coming before the provision of healthcare.”

Councillors also asked for clarification on whether the PCT were running a consulting or engaging over Corbar’s future.

Ms Donley said: “It is an engagement, not a consultation. The reason it is termed an engagement is because it isn’t a case of tick yes for closing Corbar, tick no for don’t close it.

“There are a number of different factors which will impact on the final decision. The public impact is one. GPs’ views is another one, as is clinical evidence.

“The public definitely will be listened to in this process, but it’s not the only factor.”