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NHS maternity units were forced to close 287 times last year

Research by the Labour Party has found that almost half of maternity units at hospitals in England were closed to expectant mothers at least once during 2017. The party say that staff shortages and other resourcing problems are primarily to blame.

Labour used Freedom of information (FoI) requests to identify almost 300 occasions when maternity units were closed and expectant mothers sent elsewhere, with the most common reasons cited being a lack of capacity and staffing issues.

In total, there was 287 occasions when maternity units were closed to expectant mothers, with 11 of the trusts saying they had been forced to close their doors more than 10 times during the year.

The shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, called the statistics “a disgrace”, saying there was an urgent need for improved resources. The Royal College of Midwives has warned about a shortage of 3,500 people in the profession.

Full story in The Guardian, 28 August 2018

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