MOTHERS and babies will not be able to receive intrapartum care until the end of September at Macclesfield Hospital.

The decision from the East Cheshire NHS Trust board to suspend intrapartum services means the care will have been pulled for 18 months, having initially stopped in March 2020 with the Covid-19 outbreak.

It has been noted by the NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which meets this Thursday, February 18.

A pre-meeting report said: “At the East Cheshire NHS Trust Board meeting, on February 4 2021, the Trust considered and agreed the option to extend the current temporary suspension of intrapartum care at the Macclesfield Hospital site for a further six months (from April 1 — September 30 2021) and reaffirmed its commitment to reinstate full maternity and neonatal services, at Macclesfield Hospital, in September 2021.

“The decision, which has been communicated to key stakeholders, took into account the continued challenges of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, including ensuring patients and staff continue to be protected from the virus and maintain adherence to the restriction guidance.

“In the interim, the Trust will continue to offer local access to antenatal care and its home birth service for those women who would like to choose this option. East Cheshire women will continue to have the choice of giving birth at neighbouring hospitals Leighton Hospital, Stepping Hill Hospital, and Wythenshawe Hospital and feedback from new mums giving birth at these host sites continues to be extremely positive.”

Intrapartum care is given to healthy women and their babies during childbirth.

The report also identified several criteria which remain to be satisfied in order to reinstate the services.

They include a surge in Covid-19 cases, a need for a dedicated maternity theatre, and a 30 per cent ‘deployment gap’ in midwifery staff.

The majority of the unmet indicators are targeted to be solved by Autumn of this year.

NHS Cheshire CCG will meet online at 10am on Thursday February 18.