TWO maternity units in Gwent have been shuttered for more than five months, with the local health board dealing with “significant pressure” due to a staff shortage.

Earlier this week, the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board announced that, effective immediately, the maternity units at the Royal Gwent in Newport, and Nevill Hall in Abergavenny, would be closed until October 2022.

According to a health board spokeswoman, the move comes as part of an effort “to support our midwives who are under significant pressure due to the current staff shortage”.

It leaves Gwent with just three options for midwifery services in the meantime – The Grange in Cwmbran, Ysbyty Aneurin Bevan in Ebbw Vale, and a reduced service at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr in Ystrad Mynach.

Parents-to-be also retain the option to opt for a home birth in Gwent.

While the health board has cited a fairly low number of births at the Royal Gwent and Nevill Hall over the last 12 months, the decision to shutter these services has not been met altogether favourably by Argus readers.

Taking to social media and the website’s comments section, our readers have had their say on the matter.

Below, you can check out a selection of their comments.

Readers react to maternity closures

The comments below were taken from the South Wales Argus Facebook page.

You can join in the conversation here.

Angela Balfour said: “Wonder if people are realising this is the systematic sneaky closure of our health service why such shortage of staff we ask. Perhaps pay and other incentives need to be looked at.”

Neil Walkley said: “Too many staff jumping on the bandwagon of Covid and still getting paid such a waste of taxpayers’ money.”

Paul Stephens said: “Yet again it shows lack of thought and that Cwmbran area is becoming the centre for everything around us. The health board to need answer questions of why they have allowed this to happen.”

Peter Stack said: “There is a risk to life for mothers and others due to potential births on route and traffic accidents for mothers trying to head to the Grange from Newport/similar areas, especially from the outskirts of Newport to Cwmbran when in labour.”

Hannah Louise Ross said: “I definitely think they should keep maternity wards at the (Royal) Gwent open, not everyone is able to travel all the way to Cwmbran, from Newport. I’m in Duffryn Newport myself and it is a hell of a mission to get to The Grange specially in labour, it’s a nightmare for some people and obviously they aren’t thinking of the people who have no transport that don’t drive or haven’t got a car. It is not always easy.”

Katrina Burgess said: “Means more pressure in another hospital.”

Disa Somers said: “Putting more pressure on The Grange.”