A COUNCILLOR has hit back at health bosses who claimed they needed to employ 12 more midwives to reopen Harwich’s maternity unit as a 24/7 service.

The Harwich and Clacton maternity units were reopened as on demand birthing centres two weeks ago after the shock decision to close them in March to cover staff shortages in Colchester.

At a Harwich Town Council meeting last Wednesday Garry Calver said: “We were led to believe the recruitment of 5.6 midwives were to enable the reopening of our maternity units as 24/7 midwife-led. “

He added: “When I asked I was told they needed 12 midwives over and above the 5.6 they had recruited.

“If these figures are to be believed – and I don’t believe them – back in January and February the midwife services in Colchester, Clacton and Harwich were 17.6 midwives down."

A spokesman for Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust said: “We look forward to hearing from Harwich Town Council and addressing any concerns that members may have.”