A hospital midwifery unit will remain closed to mothers due to give birth for longer – until the end of next month, an NHS trust has said.
East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said that the extended closure was because of “staffing challenges facing our maternity services in Eastbourne”.
The trust said: “We have redeployed staff from the Eastbourne Midwifery Unit into our community midwifery team to ensure that we are able to continue to provide safe high-quality home births and maternity care within the community.
“After reviewing the staffing needs for the coming weeks across all our maternity services and to provide certainty for families, we have made the decision to continue to suspend births at the Eastbourne Midwifery Unit until the end of January 2024.
“This will impact around four births a week. The unit will remain open for outpatient antenatal and postnatal services.
“Our maternity team are in touch with anyone who is affected by this to discuss their options which include giving birth at home or at Conquest Hospital and reassuring them that they will be fully supported with safe and effective maternity care.
“We apologise for any inconvenience the closure of the unit may cause but this decision has been made to ensure that we can maintain safe services over the coming weeks.
“We are continuing to work hard on both short-term and long-term solutions to our midwifery staffing issues.
“While we are actively attempting to recruit more midwives into our maternity services at Eastbourne and across East Sussex, the national shortage of trained midwives continues to make this a significant challenge.
“Please speak to your community midwife for further information or please call our Triage Helpline: 0300 131 5341.”