A FATHER-TO-BE has hit out afteramaternity facility’s new round-the clock service failed him on its second day of operation.

Simon Collis phoned the maternity unit at the Fryatt Hospital, Harwich, at 5.30am on Tuesday when wife Becky began what she thought were contractions.

The unit had been run overnight by on-call midwives, but, from Monday, two new midwives were due to start bringing the centre up to capacity and allowing it to run round the clock.

But, after a telephone consultation, Mr Collis, of Clayton Road, Ramsey, was told an on-call midwife would have to come from Colchester as well as Harwich because the Fryatt Hospital unit was understaffed.

Mr Collis said: “It is worrying times, especially since it had not even been reopened for a day.

“It makes you wonder how long this system will last.”

The unit could be axed completelywhen a consultation takes place later this year. Mr Collis has set up a Facebook page calling for Harwich and Clacton’s maternity units to be saved.

A spokesman for Colchester hospitals trust, which provides maternity services, said: “Unfortunately, because of short-term sickness at Colchester General Hospital, the midwife who was due to be at the Harwich unit had to go into Colchester.

“Therefore the shift was covered by on-call midwives in the same way it was before January 6.

“A woman will always be supported by two midwives when she gives birth at Harwich at night.

“This was the only shift this week which had to be covered by an on-call midwife.”