Skip to main content

An update regarding pressures on maternity services

2 November 2022 

Midwifery Led Unit:  

Current status: Open 
This is being reviewed daily.  

Home birthing services:  

Current status: Temporarily suspended 
This is being reviewed weekly 

Our Health Board continues to face extreme pressures across services which includes maternity. In July, the Health Board unfortunately had to make the difficult decision to suspend home birthing services until October 2022 to alleviate workforce pressures in hospital midwifery settings. Home birthing services remain temporarily suspended, but the team are committed to doing their best to re-establish a home birthing service as soon as possible. 

The decision to temporarily suspend home birthing services was made to give us the best chance possible of keeping the Midwifery Led Unit open and ensure we are able to maintain safe services. Workforce issues are a significant challenge due to non-COVID related sickness and staff vacancies. Cases of COVID-19 are also increasing in the community and hospital settings which also presents increased pressure.  

We would like to send our sincerest apologies to families affected by the suspension of the home birth service and intermittent closures of the Midwifery Led Unit. We understand this can be unsettling and while we make every effort to keep the unit open, there are some days where we may not be able to do this because of safety.   

Our ability to safely maintain these services for women, birthing people and their families remains under constant review. Our teams are working tirelessly to maintain optimum service provision, but due to pressures related to the pandemic, we have to manage services to allow us to continue to provide the best possible care and it is our priority that our services maintain safety at all times. We apologise for the impact this will have on people using our services. We have recently recruited 29 new midwives who have begun joining us which will help alleviate some of the pressures. 

We would like to reassure women and birthing people with midwife led birth plans that these will continue to be followed, but in some cases may be in a different environment. One-to-one care in labour will be maintained and expertise in midwifery-led care is still available within the main delivery suite, which offers limited access to water birth facilities.  

All women and birthing people are encouraged to make their labour and delivery space their own and will be supported to do so by our midwives. Infection prevention and control measures remain in place to help keep you safe.  

If you wish to discuss your options further please contact your midwife. Thank you to our dedicated staff who continue to go above and beyond to provide exceptional care to our patients, and to our population for your continued co-operation and support.