A new labour unit in Waterford, which is part of a €2m development, will not be used for maternity needs for possibly another three months because equipment has not been bought for it and staff have not been hired.

University Hospital Waterford Maternity Department provides obstetric services locally and in-utero transfers from other hospitals in the southeast.

There were 2,115 deliveries at the hospital last year and the unit has one labour suite with four delivery rooms, one obstetric operating theatre and an admission room.

A new delivery suite with five extra delivery rooms was finished nearly 18 months ago and the neo-natal unit was visited by the then minister for health James Reilly in April 2014.

The new delivery suite has being lying idle ever since.

In a statement to RTÉ, the Health Service Executive said the new delivery suite area is in the commissioning stage and is not yet fully equipped.

The executive said the total building cost of the labour suite area was €2m, in addition to projected equipping costs of €400,000 and that the new labour suite has not yet opened, due to additional staffing resource requirements now submitted as part of the 2016 estimates.

The delivery suite will now be used as an Acute Medical Unit as the hospital says the current AMU is being refurbished at a cost of €200,000.

It will be at least another few months before the AMU moves "back out" of the planned delivery suite area.