HEALTH bosses have insisted the temporary closure of maternity units in Clacton and Harwich are not a cost-cutting measure.

Dr Shane Gordon, of the NHS North-East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said he has been given “assurances” the closures will not be permanent.

Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, which runs maternity services in Tendring on behalf of the group, last week said no more births will take place at the maternity units until at least June so midwives can cover staff shortages in Colchester.

Instead, Mums will be forced to travel to Colchester General Hospital or give birth at home.
Dr Gordon has called for the service to return to normal levels as soon as possible.

Speaking at Tuesday’s board meeting at Walton’s Columbine Centre, he said: “It’s not a financial measure. It relates to safety and issues with staffing levels at central units."

Dr Gordon said he had assurances from the Trust it would only be a “temporary” measure.

Tim Young, Labour’s General Election candidate for Clacton, told health bosses residents and mums-to-be were angry at the perceived erosion of healthcare services in the district.

He said: “This has caused fury and outrage in Clacton, Harwich and the surrounding areas."

A decision on the long-term future of maternity services across Tendring was expected to go before the board on Tuesday, but the clinical commissioning group has now decided to postpone a review of its services while it helps Colchester Hospital Trust look at concerns about the low number of midwives.