Blow for expectant mothers as suspension of birth services in Honiton to be extended

PUBLISHED: 16:59 26 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:52 29 September 2017

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

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

Archant

The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust announced the news and cited on-going staff vacancies and long-term sickness absence across the maternity service as the reason.

Expectant mothers in Honiton and Okehampton have been dealt a further blow after it was revealed that the temporary suspension of birth services at both towns’ birth centres is to be extended.

The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust announced the news and cited on-going staff vacancies and long-term sickness absence across the maternity service as the reason.

The extension means that women will not be able to give birth at either site for a further three months until safe staffing levels have been attained. The suspension will be reviewed again early in 2018.

The trust says despite the news, 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 at the trust, said: “We recognise the significant impact that this may have on women who had hoped to birth at Honiton or Okehampton and are once again sorry for this.

“Patient safety however remains our top priority and we are working as hard as we can to resolve this so that birth services at these centres can resume as soon as possible.

“For anyone requiring inpatient maternity care, we will make immediate arrangements for them to attend our main maternity unit in Exeter or Tiverton Birth Centre, so that mother and baby continue to receive the highest standard of care.”

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

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

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