Glasgow & West Scotland

Apology over maternity unit 'closure' at Glasgow hospital

Nurse speaking to pregnant woman Image copyright PA
Image caption The hospital has apologised to five women for any distress caused

A hospital has apologised after women in labour were refused admission to a Glasgow maternity unit because of overcrowding.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said the issue affected five women who presented at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) on Thursday.

The women were either diverted to other hospitals or had their planned procedures delayed.

The health board blamed a higher than normal level of admissions.

They also said that a number of women and babies within the unit at QEUH had experienced complications.

The Royal College of Midwives in Scotland said they were working with management at the hospital to ensure there were an adequate number of midwives.

'Peaks in demand'

A spokeswoman for the health authority said the maternity unit had been closed to new admissions between 09:00 and 15:00 on Thursday.

She said the divert order had now been lifted and the hospital had returned to normal service.

She added: "We have an arrangement where we use our three maternities to manage peaks in demand across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Women were diverted from QEUH to the Royal Alexandra and Princess Royal Maternity

"The divert - to the nearby Royal Alexandra Hospital and the Princess Royal Maternity - was put in place due to a high number of admissions to the QEUH and a number of women and babies developing complications.

"We arranged for three women to be admitted to other maternity hospitals in our area and a further two women had their planned procedures safely deferred for a matter of hours.

"Patient safety was maintained at all times. We would like to apologise to anyone to whom this caused any distress."

'Last minute'

The health authority is currently consulting on plans to save about £69m on its budget in the coming year.

Mary Ross Davie, director of the Royal College of Midwives in Scotland, acknowledged the unit had faced pressure in recent month but denied the issue was related to a reduction in the number of beds available.

She said: "We have been aware of pressure in Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. It seems particularly to have arisen as a result of the number of births that have been taking place in the past few months.

"These increases in demand and activity have been putting pressure on the system.

"We are actively working with management at the hospital to make sure we have a safe level of midwives within the unit."

However, Ms Davie said it was right that the hospital had apologised to the women affected.

She added: "It is difficult and distressing for a woman who has a birth plan and is expecting to have her baby under certain circumstances only to be told at the last minute that things will be different, so it is appropriate that the health board has apologised."

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