City maternity capacity lags behind births

THE funded capacity for the delivery of children in the maternity unit in Altnagelvin this year is 41 deliveries less than the number of babies that were born there in 2011/12, the Sentinel can reveal.

Over 2012/13 the Londonderry maternity unit is funded for 2,908 deliveries. But this is less than the 2,949 births that occurred there in 2011/12.

Meanwhile, the Causeway maternity unit is funded for 1,421 deliveries this year; this is one less delivery than the amount of babies born there in 2011/12.

And the Antrim unit is funded for 2,620 deliveries this year: four more deliveries than the 2,616 babies born there in 2011/12.

Health Minister Edwin Poots stated: “It should be noted that capacity within hospitals changes over time to meet demand.

“Capacity in a maternity unit cannot be seen in isolation from other hospital services. Key drivers on capacity within a maternity unit include: (a) the physical environment; (b) the staffing complement of both professional and administrative staff and skill mix; and, (c) the complexity of the pregnancy.”

He also stated: “It should be noted that the number of births does not equate to the number of deliveries as one delivery may result in a multiple birth.”