Staff shortages have been blamed for the closure of maternity services in the northern suburbs. Maternity health services will be permanently transferred by Ramsay Health Care from Glengarry Private Hospital in Duncraig to Joondalup Private Hospital from noon on December 22. Ramsay said the two services were being consolidated because of a sustained shortage of on-call anaesthetists and paediatricians at Glengarry. It said maternity services around the country were facing a similar challenge. St John of God Health Care announced last month it would consolidate its Mt Lawley maternity services with St John of God Subiaco from December 20. Affected staff at Glengarry will be offered redeployment, either at Joondalup Private Hospital or Joondalup Health Campus. Ramsay State manager (WA) Dr Shane Kelly said the safety and wellbeing of pregnant women and their babies came first. “We understand this decision may cause concern among expecting parents who are due to have their baby at Glengarry and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience or disappointment,” Dr Kelly said. “We are communicating with expecting parents and their obstetricians to make sure they understand their options and have a positive birth experience.” Dr Kelly said all Glengarry obstetricians with maternity bookings were accredited to practise at Joondalup Private and expected there would be a smooth transition. “Joondalup Private Hospital is roughly a 15-minute drive from Glengarry and is considered very safe, with 24-hour specialist cover and a multidisciplinary team on hand,” he said. The 150-bed Joondalup Private Hospital has four birth suites, 24/7 anaesthetic and paediatric cover, 24/7 access to theatres, critical care services and a special care nursery. Glengarry has been operating in the northern suburbs for almost 50 years.