MOTHERS have been called on to make use of the Harwich maternity unit amid fears for its long term future.

Dave Rutson, who is a public governor at the hospital trust, said: “This is the first step on the right track to get thinks back on keel.

“It is important people use the facility. To keep it you have to use it. The same applies for Clacton but their figures are starting to improve.

“We have very capable and high quality midwives at these units.”

Since the units closed on March 17 there has been an increase in the number of mums opting for home births.

In Clacton, there had been 14 as of last Wednesday compared with eight in the same 12-week period last year and in Harwich there were nine compared with two last year.

Between March 17 and 11 June last year, there were 42 births in the Clacton midwife-led unit and 19 in the Harwich unit.

Campaigner Jenny Semple, who organised a protest march and twilight vigil against the maternity closure, says she is concerned mums won’t be getting sufficient aftercare.

She said “There are still some concerns – you could get to the birthing unit at night in the late stages of labour and the midwife could be half and hour away.

“You could end up giving birth in the reception area and would then be sent back out.”