Birth centre stays shut

A CONTINUING shortage of midwives means Cossham Hospital will not reopen for births until at least next spring.

Cossham Birth Centre shut in October 2022, three years after it had reopened following a year-long closure. It remains open for other maternity services.

North Bristol NHS Trust, which runs Cossham, says expectant mothers can opt to use the Mendip Birth Centre at Southmead Hospital. It has also relaunched its home birth service on a “case by case basis”.

A spokesman said: “We took the difficult decision to temporarily pause births at Cossham due to workforce challenges so that we can maintain safe care for all women and babies across our maternity units.

“Maternity recruitment remains a challenge across the NHS and while we are making good progress, we expect to remain challenged until towards the end of this year and into early next year.

NBT Chief Nursing Officer, Professor Steve Hams, said: “Cossham is a valuable community resource, providing an important hub for a range of healthcare and maternity services.

“We are committed to providing maternity services at Cossham Hospital and hope to use this time to work with our NBT colleagues, local women, the Maternity Voices Partnership and local partners to strengthen the opportunities we provide for women and families in the local area, and more widely across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.”

Community appointments, breastfeeding support and other services continue to be run from Cossham while births are paused.