The Bournemouth Birth Centre has closed temporarily, amid concerns over the wellbeing of patients and staff during the coronavirus pandemic, with women being relocated to Poole Maternity.
In a statement, issued yesterday by Paula Shobbrook, the Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Royal Bournemouth Hospital warned that there would be no midwives present at Bournemouth Hospital for the foreseeable future, but confirmed the Antenatal Clinic would continue, having been moved to the Orthopaedic Outpatients Department in the hospital’s main building.
Speaking about the decision, she said: “The safety of birthing women, their babies and our staff is absolutely paramount, but the current coronavirus situation and the impact on our staffing levels means we can no longer consistently provide safe care. We are also mindful of the pressure on the ambulance service, and by consolidating births on to one site, we will no longer need ambulances to carry out emergency/urgent transfers to Poole.
“We have been working closely with colleagues at the Poole Maternity Unit to enable this change to take place as swiftly and smoothly as possible. Poole Hospital provides an excellent service, and offers the whole range of birthing options, including the Haven Birthing Suite for low risk births.”
For those who have planned home births, they confirmed that the service ‘will continue, subject to safe levels of staffing being available. All women who have booked for home births will be contacted individually regarding this.”
While the staff work to ensure minimal disruption to their normal procedures, Ms Shabbrook has assured anyone affected by the changes that “the team of community midwives are working as normal across the Bournemouth and Christchurch area and will contactable via their mobile numbers in the usual way or at the Community Midwives Office on 01202 704434 (8am to 5pm).
Any woman who believes she might be in labour can still also contact the Labourline as normal, on 0300 360388.