St Peter’s Hospital birthing unit temporarily closes amid staff shortages

  Posted: 16.08.21 at 14:36 by Charlotte Lillywhite

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The birthing units at St Peter’s Hospital in Maldon and William Julien Courtauld Hospital (WJC) in Braintree will be temporarily closed from Monday, 23 August due to staff shortages.

The decision has been made by Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust to help facilitate staffing within its main unit at Broomfield Hospital while a midwifery recruitment campaign is underway to attract more midwives to the Trust.

Maldon parents who were planning on going to St Peter’s will have to travel to the midwifery-led unit at Broomfield Hospital or opt for a home birth.

Denise Townsend, deputy chief nursing officer at the Trust, said: “We want to make sure that mums and babies always receive the very best care.

“While we recruit more midwives, we have spoken to a small number of women who were booked to give birth at St Peter’s or WJC in the coming weeks, and will be supporting them to deliver their babies at the midwifery-led unit in Chelmsford or at home instead.

“This is only a temporary measure.”

While deliveries at the midwifery-led birthing units will be temporarily suspended, the hospitals will still be running antenatal and postnatal outpatient clinics, and offering antenatal triage between 8am and 4pm for low-risk women.

The Trust has been allocated almost £2 million to bring in additional maternity staff, which is expected to see the addition of 41 extra maternity staff.

This is in addition to the 60 experienced and newly-qualified midwives joining its maternity units in September.

The Trust has no plans to close the midwifery-led maternity units at St Peter’s and WJC permanently, and will review the temporary closures in four weeks.

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