NEONATAL and maternity services at Furness General Hospital are being transferred temporarily to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary due to low staffing levels.
From 9am next Tuesday, February 5, all special care baby unit services and consultant led maternity services from Barrow will at Lancaster.
Sir David Henshaw, Interim Chair, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) said: “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.
“The safety of everyone who uses our hospitals is a priority for the new Trust Board at Morecambe Bay.
“We have no desire to keep the service away longer than it needs to be and are aiming for the service to return as soon as safe, sustainable staffing levels can be achieved.
“The Trust Board has instructed the Medical Director and Executive Chief Nurse to report back in two weeks with a plan for the return of these services to FGH.”
Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive, UHMBT said: “We announced in November that clinicians had raised concerns regarding the ability to safely staff the SCBU at FGH and the action we were taking to mitigate against this risk, however this has now been overtaken by the significant, unsustainable levels of sickness absence.
“We will continue to work hard, together with the wider NHS to recruit more midwives and neonatal nurses.
“We have also liaised with other specialist and regional providers to second staff, but this has not yet proved successful.”
If any women have concerns or require further information they can call 0800 028 2340 between 8am and 10pm, Monday to
Friday, and between 8am and 7pm, Saturday and Sundays.