Shropshire

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital maternity unit to temporarily shut

Image copyright PA
Image caption Problems have been found in the Copthorne building, in an older part of the hospital in Shrewsbury

Expectant mothers will soon not be able to give birth at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital's midwife-led unit due to problems with an ageing building.

From 10 June, inpatient services will stop for up to six months after issues were found during a refurbishment.

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust said the age of the building was responsible and some concerns were related to fire regulation.

Women who planned to give birth there from 10 June will have to go elsewhere.

The trust, which was put in special measures last year due to safety concerns in emergency and maternity services and is also currently being investigated over baby deaths, apologised.

It said home birth services were not affected.

The "essential remedial works" at the Copthorne building means births and postnatal care will be suspended and, as work progresses, outpatient services will be moved.

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital sign Image copyright Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust
Image caption The trust said as work progressed, it would also need to move outpatient services

Shrewsbury's midwife-led unit was officially reopened in December following a refurbishment that included replacing the roof and improving facilities such as natural lighting in birthing rooms.

Trust acting associate director of estates Dave Thomas said work "may be noisy and disruptive" and at times could compromise some patients' privacy, so it had decided on the temporary closure.

Instead, women can go to the Wrekin midwife-led unit or the consultant-led unit at the Princess Royal Hospital, Telford.

Those due to give birth in the next month are being contacted and others potentially affected will also receive a letter soon.

Trust deputy head of midwifery Anthea Gregory-Page said: "It is important that we maintain the care and dignity of our mums and babies at all times.

"This is not a decision that has been made lightly but they are our absolute priority."

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