South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust has confirmed that the delivery of babies at South Tyneside District Hospital is planned to resume from Monday 22 January 2018, for a guaranteed three months.
Births have been temporarily suspended at the hospital since the 4 December 2017 and this was following the temporary suspension of the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) service on 30 November 2017 due to acute staffing pressures within SCBU.
Healthcare leaders suspended births at the hospital while the SCBU service was unavailable due to staffing shortages. They say the decision was taken to ensure ongoing safe care for pregnant women and babies. Local pregnant women should contact their midwives in the usual way to discuss their birthing plans. In recent weeks, the Trust has already been in touch with women who are due to deliver up until the 22 January and any women who are due to deliver soon and have immediate queries can call the Trust’s midwife-led telephone advice service which is available 24/7 on 0191 2024190.
Healthcare leaders are keen to emphasise that the SCBU service still remains very fragile due to staffing pressures and the situation will continue to be monitored closely on a daily basis as work progresses to bolster the staffing position.
The Trust has also thanked NHS colleagues at the region’s neonatal and maternity networks, neighbouring maternity services and the North East Ambulance Service for their help and support during this temporary suspension of services in South Tyneside.
The future of local maternity services has recently been consulted on as part of phase one of the Path to Excellence programme. The formal public consultation for this concluded on 15 October 2017 and a decision about the long-term future is expected from NHS South Tyneside CCG and NHS Sunderland CCG in February 2018.