Twelve new midwives and assistants have joined St Helier Hospital’s maternity ward this year as uncertainity over its future continues.

Last week a public consultation on whether to strip the hospital of its maternity unit and accident and emergency was postponed indefinitely after NHS Surrey demanded more work be done to assess its impact on their patients.

NHS south-west London has already put forward its preferred option for the shape of health services in its Better Services, Better Value (BSBV) review which could see St Helier lose vital services.

BSBV said the consultation would still go ahead but could not say when it would be resumed.

Nicola Ford, who worked as a midwife assistant at the hospital before becoming a midwife, said: "There’s never been a doubt in my mind that I wanted to work at St Helier Hospital and walking back through those doors to start my first shift as a midwife was like coming home."

"The team here are all great and they’ve all been really supportive of me, and I’m really proud to be a part of it.

"St Helier Hospital means a huge amount to me.

"My mum worked here, my four sons were all born here and one of them works here as a porter now, so St Helier is definitely close to my heart."

A further 14 midwives are lined up to join the hospital’s organising body, Epsom and St Helier Trust, before the end of 2012.

Sally Sivas, the trust’s head of midwifery, said: "We are delighted that such a healthy number of midwives and maternity assistants have joined us already this year, and we will continue to work hard to make sure that all parents-to-be and their new babies get the very best of care from us."