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7 June 2011, 16:19 | Updated: 7 June 2011, 16:27
Heart's been told the birthing centre in Canterbury will remain closed until the end of the year. A consultation is underway into midwifery services in East Kent and managers say the centre will remain closed to avoid confusion. The unit was closed in January due to staff shortages and worries over safety
This is the Statement from Trust managers
Lindsey Stevens Head of Midwifery at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust said: “Our first concern, as always, is the safety of parents-to-be and their babies before, during and after birth. With this in mind and to reduce confusion for parents we have taken the decision to continue with the temporary closure of the birth centre at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital and to keep the Dover family birth centre open.
“This arrangement will remain in place while we consult with NHS colleagues and local parents to develop a sustainable plan for the future of maternity care in east Kent. The consultation will be completed by the end of the year, and the final decision on maternity arrangements will rest with the two NHS boards, made up of GPs, clinicians and commissioners.
“While the Canterbury birth centre is not open to births, day care services at both the Canterbury and Dover birth centres will continue to run every day from 9am until 5pm. This means women who have any concerns about their unborn babies can still have access to a midwife for advice and support whether this is for an antenatal check, monitoring the baby or routine tests. Ante natal clinics and ante natal education will continue as normal.
“Birth services at the QEQM Hospital in Margate and the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford including the Singleton midwifery-led unit will continue as normal as will all ante natal and post natal services.
“In the meantime any parents-to-be who have concerns should speak to their midwife.”