A VITAL service has announced it will be closing due to staffing issues. 

The Midwife led birthing unit at St Peter's Hospital, Maldon will temporarily suspend all inpatient services from August 23.

Service will also be suspended at the William Julien Courtauld unit in Braintree. 

This means anyone planning to have their baby at the unit, will now have to go to Broomfield or have a home birth.

Denise Townsend, deputy chief nursing officer for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We want to make sure that mums and babies always receive the very best care.

“While we recruit more midwives, we have spoken to a small number of women who were booked to give birth at St Peter’s or WJC in the coming weeks, and will be supporting them to deliver their babies at the midwifery-led unit in Chelmsford or at home instead.

“This is only a temporary measure.”

The trust has a recruitment campaign underway to attract more midwives.