“The ‘temporary’ suspension of birth services in Honiton and Okehampton is set to continue due to ongoing staff sickness and high patient demand in Exeter.
Today the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital has announced the two centres will be closed for a further three months – which means they will have been closed for nine months.
When the centres closed in July 2017, it was said at the time the suspension of the services was expected to last for three months.
The latest suspension means women will still not be able to give birth at either site. The suspension will be reviewed again in April.
The RD&E says that although good progress has been made to recruit staff into vacancies within the wider maternity service, ongoing staff sickness and high patient demand in the acute unit in Exeter means it has not yet been able to reach acceptable staffing levels in either centre.
All antenatal and postnatal clinics, midwifery support and home birth services at Honiton and Okehampton are unaffected and running as normal.
Zita Martinez, head of midwifery, said: “We are sorry for this continued suspension in inpatient services and understand it will be disappointing for women who had hoped to birth at Honiton or Okehampton.
“Patient safety remains our top priority and we are continuing to work hard to resolve this as soon as possible.”
Honiton and Okehampton Birth Centres are open for clinics and midwife care and support 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. Outside of these hours women should call the RD&E main maternity triage service on 01392 406616.”