Healthcare leaders have been criticised for suspending deliveries of babies at South Tyneside District Hospital.
This follows the temporary suspension of the Special Care Baby Unit due to extreme staffing pressures. This has led to the baby unit being unable to accommodate high-risk births since November 30, 2017.
Peter Hamilton, who’s granddaughter was born 3.29am 6-12-2017, the last baby born in South Tyneside Hospital said: “We [Tyneside] have 165 mothers who are due from now till January 15.
“Some are having their first child and to be told you have to make other arrangements for your delivery shows the CCGs (Clinical Commission’s Group) intentions are to offer meaningless consolation’s and frighten the population into a fear factor of the services.
“We do not want to lose this award-winning service … Shame on the CCG.”
NHS Foundation Trust decided to take this measure following advice to pause all deliveries while the Special Care Baby Unit services are suspended.
Dr. Shahid Wahid, Medical Director at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust said: “This has been a very difficult decision. We recognise that this is very upsetting news for staff and patients, but the clinical safety of women and babies in our care must come first”
NHS Foundation Trust are putting in place urgent measures to ensure ongoing safe care to pregnant women and babies from South Tyneside.
Sunderland Royal Hospital’s maternity ward is among some of the neighbouring units that are going to be accommodating deliveries of the 165 women along with those already planned in their hospital.
Mr Ian Martin, Medical Director at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust told us: “The absolute priority is to ensure the safety of mothers and babies. We are working closely to support our colleagues in South Tyneside. Women will be fully supported throughout this temporary change and offered a choice of where they would like to have their baby including Sunderland Royal Hospital.”
165 women who are due to deliver their babies before January 15 2018 have been personally contacted and given alternative arrangements.
A decision is to be made in February 2018 on the Fate of the Maternity unit.