The supervisory board of Valga Hospital decided at a meeting held at Tartu University Hospital on Tuesday to close the Southern Estonian hospital's maternity ward as of July 1.
Speaking at a press conference following the meeting, Tartu University Hospital board member and Valga Hospital supervisory board chairman Mart Einasto said that the debate took longer than expected, and gave the opportunity for Estonian Health Insurance Fund (EHIF) board member Maivi Parv to provide an overview of of various opportunities.
The supervisory board ultimately voted in favor of closing Valga Hospital's maternity ward as of July 1.
Helle Karro, director of the Tartu University Hospital Women's Clinic, said that contrary to various concerns, the maternity ward in Tartu is fully capable of ensuring that everyone giving birth receives the personal approach and privacy, and that there are enough family rooms to go around.
In the case of Valga Hospital, Karro stressed that it wasn't a matter of the professionalism of the doctors, but rather the fact that two doctors are not enough for the provision of year-round maternity care.
In contrast, Tartu University Hospital sees an average of seven to eight deliveries per 24 hours, and keeps four midwives on duty.
"I haven't heard of a single delivery that has taken place in a hallway," Karro stressed, rejecting the claims made by Free Party local chapter leader Tanel Valk.
Editor: Aili Vahtla