Macclesfield Hospital hopes to restore maternity services by September this year
Health chiefs say they hope to restore maternity and neonatal services at Macclesfield Hospital by September this year.
The announcement comes after all births were suspended at the hospital in March last year due to pressures on its intensive care unit as Covid admissions soared.
As coronavirus patients poured in extra beds had to be provided.
While the unit was divided in half to treat patients testing positive and negative for the virus - both meaning staff could no longer staff an emergency maternity theatre.
However East Cheshire NHS Trust is now planning a £2 million upgrade to the intensive care unit - enabling Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients to be treated in one location.
It is hoped the upgrade will be completed by September - allowing the return of the maternity services at Macclesfield Hospital.
For many women living in the south west of High Peak - including Buxton and outlying villages - Macclesfield is the closest option for birthing and neonatal services - with other options including a longer drive to Stepping Hill in Stockport.
However it is hoped that if maternity services are re-introduced at Macclefield in September they will have another choice of centres to attend.
John Wilbraham, East Cheshire NHS Trust Chief Executive, said: “It has always been the board’s intention to return maternity services as soon as we can safely do so but none of us could have predicted the longevity of Covid-19 and the impact it has had on other services.
“We are taking every step possible to keep patients and staff safe whilst working to achieve the return of our full maternity service by September 2021.”