Fresh blow for expectant mums as suspension of birth services in Honiton is extended - again

PUBLISHED: 18:00 22 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:50 25 January 2018

Honiton hospital entrance. Photo by Terry Ife ref mhh 4439-48-11TI

Honiton hospital entrance. Photo by Terry Ife ref mhh 4439-48-11TI

Archant

The services in Honiton and Okehampton were originally suspended for three months in September last year.

Expectant mothers living in Honiton have been dealt a fresh blow after the temporary suspension of birth services at the town’s birth centre was extended.

The services in Honiton and Okehampton were originally suspended for three months in September last year, with the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust citing on-going staff vacancies and long-term sickness absence across the maternity service as the reason.

Many mums-to-be have been looking forward to the centre re-opening this month, but now the trust has announced the doors will remain shut for a further three months.

The trust says while ‘good’ progress has been made to recruit staff into vacancies within the wider maternity service, ‘ongoing staff sickness’ and ‘high patient demand’ in the acute unit in Exeter means it has not yet been able to reach acceptable staffing levels.

As a result, the trust is continuing to suspend birth services at Honiton and Okehampton to ensure patient safety and quality is maintained across its maternity service

The trust says it will review the suspension again in April, adding that all antenatal and postnatal clinics, midwifery support and home birth services at Honiton and Okehampton are ‘unaffected and running as normal’.

Zita Martinez, head of midwifery, said: “We are sorry for this continued suspension in inpatient services and understand it will be disappointing for women who had hoped to birth at Honiton or Okehampton.

“Patient safety remains our top priority and we are continuing to work hard to resolve this as soon as possible.”

Honiton and Okehampton Birth Centres are open for clinics and midwife care and support from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

Outside these hours women should call the RD&E main maternity triage service on 01392 406616.

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