Wycombe Birth Centre – which shut at the start of the coronavirus pandemic – is not set to reopen until at least December.

It was announced at the end of March 2020 that the birthing centre at Wycombe Hospital would be shut as Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust battled Covid-19 at the very start of the outbreak.

Instead, expectant parents were transferred to either Aylesbury Birth Centre or the labour ward at Stoke Mandeville Hospital – around 15 miles away from High Wycombe.

But despite the easing of coronavirus restrictions, and a lull in cases in March, April and May this year, it still has not reopened – leaving many wondering what is going on.

The Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust website explains the closure is "temporary" because of the continued effect of Covid-19. 

The Bucks Free Press asked Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust when the centre might finally be reopening – and they confirmed there is a planned recruitment drive for midwives during the summer that could allow the centre to reopen in December this year.

A spokesman for the Trust said: “The Trust is dedicated to providing safe personalised care and choice to women and birthing people.

“Our planned recruitment in the summer, combined with the students who will complete their training in October, and adapting our team to support the introduction of a continuity of carer model, should enable us to re-open Wycombe Birth Centre as an option for women due to give birth from December 2021.

“Continuity of carer means that the same team of midwives assigned to an individual will support them throughout their pregnancy, birth and postnatal period.

“As well as providing a better experience, it also means we are able to accommodate an individual’s request to birth their baby at their place of choice, subject to it being medically safe to do so.

“The suspension of some services at Wycombe birth centre during the pandemic has been essential in order to maintain safe staffing across all maternity services at BHT.

“A number of our midwives were unable to be on site during the pandemic because they were shielding or self-isolating; we also had a number of midwives leave and relocate to work nearer to their families.

“We continue to offer antenatal and post-natal care at Wycombe birth centre and we have continued to offer three options for place of birth at home and alongside the midwifery led birth centre and the main labour ward at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.”