A total of 18 new midwives have been recruited to help a maternity unit reopen, after staff shortages forced it to close after just 11 months.
Around eight of the new recruits have already started at Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital, although the midwife-led unit currently remains closed.
The other staff are either waiting for registration documents, as they are newly qualified, or are still waiting to complete their qualifications.
It is hoped that the unit can be reopened permanently, once all of the new staff are on the hospital’s books. That is not expected to be before the end of next month.
Cheryl Etches OBE, chief nursing officer at the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals Trust, told a meeting of its board: “We’ve appointed 18 midwives.
“Already, eight of those have started and the rest will start towards the end of October.
“Some of them are either waiting for registration as they are newly qualified or they are waiting to qualify.”
The midwife-led unit, which opened last October, closed earlier this month and bosses say they have decided to keep it shut until they have the necessary number of new recruits.
They say a pool of 122 midwives are split between departments on a day-to-day basis and an influx of high-risk births had taken resources away from the unit.
The National Childbirth Trust has said the closure would have an impact on mothers-to-be and could disrupt their pregnancies.
The midwife-led unit boasts extra facilities to the delivery suite, with all five birthing rooms having en-suite bathrooms, music centres and televisions and the latest birthing equipment.
During the period of closure, women who would have given birth at the midwife-led unit will instead have to use the hospital’s older delivery suite or have a home birth.
Hospital chiefs have insisted the unit has been closed with the safety of patients in mind.
Ms Etches said the decision was not taken lightly.
She added: “There was higher than average sickness across the whole directorate and the unit was opening one day and closing the next.
“A risk assessment was taken and it was deemed better to close it temporarily. As soon as we get the staff we will reopen the unit.”