A Geraldton mother who claimed she waited hours for vital medication after her son’s birth at St John of God Hospital said staffing shortages had affected patient care up to four months before the suspension of maternity services. The private hospital last week announced the temporary closure of its maternity unit “due to a shortage of midwives”. Geraldton Health Campus on Wednesday became the only local hospital admitting expectant mothers and it is unknown when St John of God will resume maternity services. There were only a handful of other women at the private hospital when Kristy Baker had her second child — a baby boy who had some trouble breathing for several days. But Ms Baker said she felt staff quickly became overwhelmed when more mothers arrived. “There were one or two nights when it was that hectic, there was no one on the floor,” she said. “You would ring the bell and it wouldn’t get answered straight away, you would be waiting half an hour to an hour. “They can only do so much and if a person has to deliver a baby they can’t just leave them there. But at the same time, I felt missed out because they weren’t bringing me medicine I was supposed to get at lunchtime until later that night. “It was a little bit upsetting.” Other local mothers-to-be like Sasha Stephens said the private hospital’s maternity ward’s closure had kept her sleepless for the past four nights. At 25 weeks pregnant, Ms Stephens fears she may not have a bed or trusted team to help her give birth in February. She is worried the hospital will not have enough staff to accept all the expecting mothers in the area and is considering whether she needs to travel almost 500km to Perth. Ms Stephens called the ordeal “extremely stressful” and urged management to think about the wellbeing of mothers. The Geraldton mum, who also has a three-year-old, said there was no formal correspondence from the private hospital — just a Facebook post from St John of God, which had since silenced the public by turning off the comments function. “It was handled poorly,” she said. “It’s not just about the delivery, we will now be unable to access extra services we would have been eligible for in the private system. Both hospitals are struggling for staff and no one can tell us what’s happening ... even my obstetrician was left in the dark.” WA Country Health Service Midwest regional director Rachele Ferrari assured Geraldton mothers the public hospital was well equipped to manage the additional births. “We looked at our capacity, our staffing, our data, projections and the scheduled births and we — from the day we heard the news and to this day — are really comfortable we can accommodate the additional families,” she said. St John of God’s announcement comes after a “super urgent shout out” was sent within WACHS last month, warning of “imminent service failure” if midwives could not be enlisted to short-term postings at Karratha and Hedland health campuses by November 8. The memo pleaded with midwives to “name their terms” and offered travel, accommodation and site allowances in a bid to keep the maternity units running. WACHS chief operating officer Robert Pulsford said neither hospital had reached a service failure and midwives had been found to support Port Hedland staff. “Our sites in Karratha and Hedland remain fully operational and are not currently, and have not been, at service failure,” he said. “There’s no denying health service providers around the country are dealing with unprecedented demand and workforce supply issues, however, WACHS has multiple strategies in place — including our own rapid deployment pool — to help manage this,” he said.