Full story in The Guardian, 28 August 2018

Almost half of maternity units at hospitals in England were closed to expectant mothers at least once during 2017, research by Labour has found, with the party blaming staff shortages and other resourcing problems.

Freedom of information (FoI) requests by Labour identified almost 300 occasions when maternity units were closed and expectant mothers sent elsewhere, with the most common reasons cited being a lack of capacity and staffing issues.

The shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, called the statistics “a disgrace”, saying there was an urgent need for improved resources. The party is linking the issue to a shortage of midwives, after the Royal College of Midwives warned about a shortage of 3,500 people in the profession…

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