Furness General Hospital maternity services moved

Furness General Hospital
Image caption Consultant-led maternity services will move from Furness general on 5 February

Maternity services at a Cumbrian hospital where a number of babies died are being moved to another hospital because of a staffing crisis.

Bosses say levels of sickness at the Furness General Hospital unit in Barrow are so high the safety of patients cannot be guaranteed.

Morecambe Bay Hospitals Trust said special care baby services would move to Lancaster from 5 February.

A spokesman said sickness levels had risen since a police inquiry began.

Sir David Henshaw, interim chair of the trust added: "We are concerned that sickness levels are nearing levels where we would have further concern over the future safety of the service at Furness General Hospital.

"Over the past eight weeks, we have been filling shifts with the goodwill of existing and agency staff but the situation has now risen to a level where this is not enough to ensure safe staffing levels.

"We have also encountered a marked increase in maternity sickness levels since the escalation of the on-going police investigation.

"As from 5 February all consultant led maternity services will be temporarily transferring from to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary."

The trust said all pregnant women in the area were being contacted and given full details of what care was available.

At least eight deaths are now being investigated by police.

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