Trust to shut award-winning maternity unit despite pledge - Guardian
"An NHS foundation trust is planning to close an award-winning midwife-led maternity unit despite the government last week promising every woman the option of such a delivery.
Heavily pregnant women in north Derbyshire will have to travel up to 21 miles on country roads because of plans to close the Darley Dale unit and cut community midwife numbers from 50 to 33.
Last week, after the health secretary said every mother would have the choice of home, hospital or midwife-led birth by 2009, the Guardian revealed that six out of nine English regions do not employ enough midwives to meet the most basic standards of care. The east Midlands already has the second-worst provision of midwives in the country, according to Guardian figures.
Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Trust says each birth at the eight-bed unit costs £3,217 compared with the £1,000 allocated by the government, meaning it loses £312,000 each year. The inefficiency comes because only 120 babies are born at the unit annually compared with 2,700 at the hospital, yet it has to be staffed by two midwives around the clock."
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