HEALTH bosses have insisted the temporary closure of maternity units in Clacton and Harwich are not a cost-cutting measure.

Dr Shane Gordon, from the NHS North-East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said he has also been given “assurances” that the closure will not be a permanent.

Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, which runs maternity services in Tendring on behalf of the group, last week said no more births will take place at the maternity units until at least June so that midwives can cover staff shortages in Colchester.

Mums will now be forced to travel to Colchester General Hospital or give birth at home.

Dr Gordon said he has called for the service to return to normal levels as soon as possible.

Speaking at a public meeting of the group’s board at Walton’s Columbine Centre on Tuesday, he said: “It’s not a financial measure. It relates to safety and issues with staffing levels at central units.

“It is a workforce and staffing issue rather than a financial one.”