Health chiefs are “dealing well” with the six month closure of a maternity unit, but conceded it was a difficult decision to take.

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust closed the Copthorne maternity building at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital on June 10 to allow major refurbishment to take place.

Jo Banks, women and children’s care group director at SaTH, said it had been a tough decision to take, but said it was the right thing to do.

She said: “We had been putting sticking plasters on various parts of the building for a very long time but we had to say that it was not fit for purpose and a proper refurbishment was needed to bring it up to standard.

“Although the actual areas where mums would be giving birth are not at the centre of the work, we made the very difficult decision to close the unit for six months from June 10.

“This was because we did not want any problems to be caused by dust, noise or anything else that may come out of it.

“It would not have been within good practise to keep having births at the unit.”

She said all mums to be were contacted before the closure and offered the chance to give birth in Telford or at home and a number had elected to stay at home.

Ms Banks added that while currently midwives are still based at the unit to carry out work, they would be moved out when phase two of the project begins in late August or early September.

She said they will be kept within Shrewsbury, however, and most likely at the hospital.

She added: “It was a difficult decision but it has been working out well so far and no problems have been encountered.

“A number of home births have been chosen and we have had some very good feedback.”

The closure means the maternity unit at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford and the Wrekin MLU will be the only places in Shropshire where women can give birth, except at home.

In the first five months of 2019 there was 29 births at Shrewsbury MLU.