No babies from South West Acute Hospital (SWAH) neonatal had to be transferred to other hospitals as a result of the unit closing two times over the bank holiday weekend.

The neonatal unit was closed on Saturday and Monday during the daytime according to the Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust. The Western Trust say that the reason for the closure was “workforce challenges".

A spokesperson for the Western Trust said: “The Neonatal Unit at SWAH was closed during the daytime on Saturday April 30 and on Monday May 2, due to workforce challenges. The Unit was operational throughout the night on both dates mentioned.”

The Impartial Reporter asked the Western Trust if there are any assurances to parents that closures to neonatal will not be happen in the future.

A Western Trust spokesperson said: “While we cannot guarantee that these issues won’t arise in the future, the Trust would like to reassure expectant parents and the wider public that the Trust is committed to working through the staffing challenges faced in the Neonatal unit at SWAH and indeed support Neonatal services and maternity services across the Trust as a whole.”

The Western Trust spokesperson said that contingency plans were put in place on Friday afternoon.

They said: “A senior Clinical and management team meeting was called on Friday afternoon, and contingency plans were put in place to ensure emergency and stabilisation if any babies who required support were to be born during these periods.

“This team included a Senior Consultant remaining on site during this time and Senior Midwifery staff trained in newborn life support available to assist with any baby who required immediate resuscitation support and stabilisation prior to transfer. Nursing staff from the Paediatric Department were also available if additional help was needed.”

Addressing the workforce gap, the Western Trust spokesperson said: “The Trust has previously stated we are doing everything in our power to actively try to recruit and address gaps in our workforce to ensure a safe and sustainable neonatal service and this work continues."