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CCG consults on future of Essex coastal maternity units

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North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group is consulting on plans to permanently downgrade two coastal maternity units.

The plans were announced in June by Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust, which runs the two midwife-led maternity units in Clacton and Harwich. 

The trust closed the units in March over concerns about low levels of midwife staffing at Colchester General Hospital.

They were re-opened in June but only as “on demand” birthing units, prompting criticism from residents and MPs.

The consultation outlines two options: to either maintain the current level of service or return to the round-the-clock service previously offered at the units.

The consultation is due to end on 15 December.

Lisa Llewelyn, the CCG’s director of nursing and clinical quality, said: “There has been ongoing discussion about maternity services in our area for some time.

“This is an opportunity for everyone who has an interest to give their views,” she said. “We can then take an informed decision about the future of the service and ensure certainty for mothers and their families and for staff.”

Amanda Hallums, the trust’s divisional director for women and children’s services, added: “Engaging with the wider public is very important to us to achieve our goal of high quality and easily accessible maternity services across North East Essex.”

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