26 May 2017

Services at two Midwife-Led Units (MLUs) in Shropshire were temporarily suspended last night (Thursday 25 May 2017) due to staff sickness.

At Bridgnorth MLU, services were temporarily suspended from 8pm yesterday (Thursday 25 May) until 8am today (Friday 26 May).

A decision was later made to suspend services at Oswestry MLU from 11pm yesterday (25 May) until 8am today (26 May) as activity within the Consultant-Led Unit in Telford and the Wrekin Midwife-Led Unit, also in Telford, increased.  All opportunities to bring in additional staff were exhausted and the on-call manager was called in to work clinically.

There were no inpatients at Bridgnorth at the time of the suspension of service. As Oswestry had inpatients, the on-call midwife was called in to cover the unit, however during that time we could not accept any new labouring women as we only had one midwife available.

Women booked to give birth at Bridgnorth or Oswestry MLU who went into labour during the temporary suspension of services would have been offered a birth at another MLU, however, no women went in to labour in either area, during this time.  Women who needed support were also able to access a Midwife as usual by telephone.

Sarah Jamieson, Head of Midwifery at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), said: “Unfortunately due to unexpected staff sickness and increased activity within our Maternity Service we had to temporarily suspend services at Bridgnorth, and later Oswestry, overnight, in the interests of patient safety.

“The decision to temporarily suspend services was not taken lightly, and was made by senior midwives, senior clinicians and Executive Directors.

“We experienced unexpected high levels of staff sickness within our Maternity Service. Unfortunately, this staff sickness coincided with high demand at our Consultant-Led Unit in Telford, whilst our other MLUs were also busy with Midwives either delivering babies or supporting women and babies.

“As a result, in line with our policies and procedures to ensure the continued safety of our service, we suspended services at Bridgnorth MLU and Owestry MLU overnight. Expectant mothers who chose to give birth at either of these MLUs and were due to give birth in the near future were informed.

“We never take such decisions lightly and we review all risks to ensure the safety of all women using the service.

“I would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”