Fears over Darley Dale birth centre's future

Women in Derbyshire are being urged to consider giving birth at a Matlock maternity unit to help it stay open.

Just two women gave birth at the midwife-run Darley Dale birthing unit at Whitworth Hospital in October.

Matlock Hospitals League Of Friends has started a Facebook campaign to raise awareness of the unit amid fears it may become a victim of NHS spending cuts.

The unit was saved from closure in 1997 following a 5,500-signature petition organised by a group of mothers.

Supporters of the unit, which handles around 120 births a year, can sign up to the We Love Darley Birth Centre Facebook page.


Alice Lockett, from the League Of Friends, said women outside the Darley area were not aware of the facilities on offer at the unit and were choosing to have their babies at hospitals in Derby instead.

She said: "We want to get the message out to women across Derbyshire, not just in Matlock and Darley Dale, that they can use this fantastic facility."

The unit closed temporarily in September 2006 because of low staff numbers and had been under review before the successful 1997 campaign to keep it open.

A spokesman for Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: "Previous marketing and publicity campaigns have had mixed success and in October there were only two births at the centre - which is obviously a concern for us."

Paul Carney, assistant director of commissioning for NHS Derbyshire County, said: "The NHS is currently reviewing all aspects of spending as part of wider plans to make required savings over the next four years.

"We will have to consider all areas of spending, and this includes Darley Dale Birth Centre."

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