Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.


Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust

Staffing crisis prompts transfer of troubled maternity unit

  • 1 Comment

Some maternity services at the troubled Furness General Hospital are to be temporarily moved to a neighbouring county in a bid to avert potentially dangerous levels of understaffing.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said sickness absences in its maternity services and special care baby unit were approaching “levels where we would have further concern about the future safety of the service”.

From 5 February, its consultant-led maternity unit and special baby care unit will be temporarily transferred to the trust’s Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Furness’s maternity unit was the flashpoint for a care scandal that engulfed Morecambe Bay in 2011, and is the focus of an ongoing police investigation into infant deaths. Earlier this month the trust also announced an internal inquiry into its maternity and neonatal services.

Interim trust chair Sir David Henshaw said: “Over the past eight weeks, we have been filling shifts with the goodwill of existing and agency staff but the situation has now risen to a level where this is not enough to ensure safe staffing levels.

“We have also encountered a marked increase in maternity sickness levels since the escalation of the ongoing police investigation.”

Nursing Times understands that police have recently begun interviewing some staff under caution.

Sir David said the trust was aiming to return the services to Furness as soon as safe and sustainable staffing levels could be achieved. A midwifery-led maternity service will be maintained at the hospital.

Trust chief executive Jackie Daniel added: “We will continue to work hard, together with the wider NHS to recruit more midwives and neonatal nurses.”

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • Is there a credible exit (or return) strategy evident in the statements of Lancaster Infirmary? How will patients access the transferred service if they do not have transport - ambulance/patient transport.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.