Heatherwood hospital birth unit is closed indefinitely

Edwin Poots
Image caption The midwifery-led unit could remain closed for several months

A Berkshire birthing unit, which closed due to staff shortages, is to remain shut indefinitely.

Heatherwood Hospital shut its Ascot Birth Centre in September after maternity leave and sickness left it without enough staff.

The hospital's chief executive, Philippa Slinger, said: "I'm trying to make certain that if we're going to reopen it, people can depend on it."

She said the problem was finding the employees with appropriate skills.

Ms Slinger described the Ascot Birth Centre as an "isolated" unit which required incredibly experienced staff who wanted to work in that kind of department.

She said that it was proving difficult to recruit midwives with those skills locally and she was looking at what other hospitals were doing in other parts of the country.

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