OTTAWA -- The birthing unit at the Pontiac Hospital in Shawville will be closed for the next six months due to staffing shortages.

The decision by the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l’Outaouais has angered parents and municipal officials in western Quebec.

The CISSS de l’Outaouais says the obstetrics unit needs 12 nurses to operate normally, but there are currently only three nurses trained to work in the unit at the Pontiac Hospital.

While the unit is closed, expectant mothers can give birth at the Gatineau Hospital or at Gatineau’s birth centre.

CISSS President and CEO Josée Filion insists the decision to close the unit is not permanent, and the CISSS will use the time to rebuild staffing levels.

Officials say the obstetrics unit will remain closed until September, 2020.

With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Claudia Cautillo.