Maternity ward closures 'are being forced by lack of beds and staff'

Medical Government/ NHS related news

Many hospitals across England are being compelled to shut down their maternity wards due to a lack of necessary resources.

This is according to a new BBC News investigation, which revealed that 62 NHS trusts out of 121 questioned - or 51 percent - temporarily closed units in 2013, with the most common reason being a lack of staff or beds.

“Many NHS trusts in England had to shut their maternity units in the past year due to a lack of staff or beds, according to a new investigation.“

Some 12 percent had closed their units ten times or more. Although in many cases this was just for a few hours, there were examples of wards remaining inaccessible to new patients for more than 48 hours until pressures had eased.

This comes after an investigation by the Care Quality Commission last year showed the maternity system in England was under strain, suggesting this is an ongoing issue.

Elizabeth Duff, of the National Childbirth Trust, said: "This failure of maternity services can mean women get passed from pillar to post when having a baby. This is hugely disruptive to labour."

The findings were also supported by the Royal College of Midwives, which has been calling for greater investment in maternity services for many months, due to evidence that birth rates are rising in the UK.

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