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Midwifery Led Unit (BAH)

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust have announced a temporary two month suspension of their midwife led unit at Bishop Auckland Hospital.

Director of Nursing Laura Robson said: "Although most women in the Bishop Auckland area have their babies at the consultant led maternity unit in Darlington , the midwife led unit is a popular choice for around 350 women a year who have low risk pregnancies.

"The MLU operates with a small group of staff. Some staff have left the unit, and although we are recruiting replacements, these will not be in post until the beginning of September. We also have a small number of our experienced staff suffering some long term health problems.

"This means that, between 2 July and 5 September we do not have enough midwives to cover all rotas safely. This means we cannot guarantee safe care 24 hours a day for women using the unit.

"We have taken steps including moving midwives from Durham and Darlington - but, given that high risk deliveries take place there we need to keep staffing levels safe there too.

"The Trust is contacting the women who are booked to have their babies in the midwife led unit to discuss alternative birth plans, including midwife led delivery in Durham or Darlington.

"This is a temporary difficulty and we are planning for the unit to reopen in September."

'As I was very, very nervous, I must have been the worst patient ever and they were brilliant with me and I can't thank them enough - could you please pass on my sincere thanks.'

Patient, Hysteroscopy Unit, Chester-le-Street Community Hospital