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Berwick births to begin again next week

Wednesday, 09 July, 2014
Berwick births to begin again next week

Low-risk women wishing to give birth at Berwick Maternity Unit will once again have the choice to deliver their babies locally from 1 July 2013.

The news comes following the recent decision by NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to introduce a new safe and sustainable model of round-the-clock maternity care in Berwick.

From 1 July, new arrangements will be in place with Berwick Maternity Unit open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 2.30pm at weekends, with a 24/7 on-call service for low-risk women who wish to deliver at the unit or at home.

Women who give birth in the unit will be discharged based upon their clinical need and there will be no overnight discharges unless a new mother wishes to go home and is well enough to do so.

All regular antenatal and postnatal clinics for both low and high-risk women will continue from Berwick Maternity Unit and under the new arrangements there will be enhanced community postnatal care for women including:

· Daily telephone contact following discharge to give any immediate advice and signpost to relevant services if required

· Home visits arranged to meet needs of individual offer support with feeding and baby care i.e. bathing, general baby wellbeing

· Drop-in postnatal care at the unit to address any wellbeing concerns for new mothers or babies, including full breastfeeding support. If necessary, new mothers will be able to stay in the unit during opening times to receive feeding support

· Greater links with local organisations such as Sure Start, which provide a range of sessions for new mothers to support breastfeeding and care of the baby.

As part of the new model of care, Berwick midwives will continue to work at Wansbeck General Hospital on a rotational basis to ensure they are able to regularly practise their full range of skills and get experience of different types of deliveries.

Head of Midwifery at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Janice McNichol, said: “We are really delighted to get births back underway in Berwick and I would like to personally thank each and every member staff at Berwick Maternity Unit for their professionalism and commitment over the past ten months.

“From the outset we have been wholly committed to making sure we can provide a safe and sustainable maternity service in Berwick and I am confident this new model of working will ensure the very best care for pregnant women in the town.”

Mums-to-be in Berwick will also soon be able to benefit from a new state-of-the-art birthing pool which is due to be installed in the coming weeks thanks to funding secured by the Trust from the Department of Health.

Janice added: “It is fantastic news for local women that we will soon be able to offer water births in the town and we really do hope this will give low-risk women an extra reason to choose Berwick Maternity Unit for their midwifery-led care.” 

Dr Alistair Blair, Chief Clinical Officer from Northumberland CCG, welcomed the news about the launch of the new model of care: “I’m very pleased to hear that the new midwifery-led service in Berwick will be soon up and running. We hope this will be  welcomed by women in Berwick and the surrounding area.”