UMass Memorial to close maternity ward

UMass Memorial Health plans to close the maternity ward at its HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital on Sept. 22 due to staff shortages and a declining number of births in the area, the Worcester Business Journal reported May 30.

"Industry-wide workforce shortages have exacerbated the challenges of fully staffing our maternity inpatient unit consistently at HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital, despite our persistent attempts to recruit and retain clinicians in this region," Steve Roach, the hospital's president, said in a statement. "This, along with the steadily declining number of births in North Central Massachusetts, has a significant impact on our unit's future capacity to provide labor and delivery care to our patients."

The North Central state legislative delegation pushed back against the proposal, arguing that one or two births occur daily at the hospital's labor and delivery unit, servicing more than 500 families a year, according to the report. 

The delegation is hosting a May 30 rally to protest the closure, which is pending regulatory approval from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

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