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Maternity unit to shut overnight due to staff shortages

The maternity unit at Weston General is to shut overnight because of staff shortages. Credit: ITV West Country

It's been announced that the maternity unit will be shut overnight at Weston General Hospital due to a shortage of staff.

The temporary closure of the maternity ward from 10pm means pregnant women will only be admitted if they phone in advance - and staff are brought in to treat them.

For the first time the birthing unit at Weston General Hospital won't be manned 24/7.

Staff shortages have forced the NHS Trust to rethink the way it uses its midwives.

What we had to consider was patient safety. We did not have enough midwives to safely staff the unit overnight but equally to provide the care antenatally and postnatally for the 1,400 women we look after.

– Sarah Dodds, Director of Nursing, Weston Area Health NHS Trust
Campaigners fighting the overnight closure of Weston General's A&E Department. Credit: ITV West Country

The move follows the closure of the hospital's A&E department overnight - which met public opposition. Dangerously low staff levels meant it couldn't run safely 24 hours a day.

Now campaigners say this is another blow to the town.

Obviously it's disappointing and worrying. Weston is one of the fastest growing towns in the UK but at the same time we're seeing a reduction in the health services available. The S in NHS stands for service and the feeling here in Weston is we're not really getting the service we need.

– Tim Taylor, Campaigner