Maternity wards are 60% more likely to turn away women in labour at weekends when there are fewer staff

Maternity units are more likely to close their doors to women in labour at the weekend when there are fewer staff.

An investigation has found that the chances of a department shutting on a Saturday are 59 per cent higher than on a Wednesday.

It also showed that at least 30 per cent of closures were due to staffing problems, rather than the unit being very busy.

Maternity units are increasingly closing their doors, temporarily, when they are either very busy or understaffed.

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