The opening of a new midwifery-led birthing centre at South Tyneside District Hospital this summer is set to offer more choice on where to give birth for local women across South Tyneside and Sunderland.
South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust will introduce the changes to local maternity services following an extensive public consultation process carried out by South Tyneside and Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Groups in 2017.
The new model of maternity care will come into operation from 9am on Monday 5 August 2019 with the opening of a new midwifery-led birthing centre in South Tyneside. All other aspects of planned local maternity services will stay the same, with pregnant women continuing to access the majority of antenatal and postnatal care locally, just as they do now, including all planned hospital appointments and community care.
The changes from 5 August mean that women who have a low risk pregnancy which is problem-free will have the option of:
- giving birth at home
- giving birth at the new midwifery-led birthing centre at South Tyneside District Hospital
- giving birth under midwifery-led care at Sunderland Royal Hospital, which is within the consultant-led maternity unit
- giving birth at another maternity unit of their choice in the region
For women whose pregnancy is high risk, for example if they are expecting twins, if their baby is in the breech position, or if they have experienced complications, either in their current pregnancy or a previous pregnancy, they will be advised to give birth in the Trust’s consultant-led maternity unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital which is rated amongst the best in the NHS according to the latest Care Quality Commission maternity survey.
All local women who are currently booked to deliver their babies during July and August across South Tyneside and Sunderland are being contacted personally so that early conversations can take place with their community midwife to discuss their birthing options.
Sheila Ford, Head of Midwifery at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The birth of a child is an amazing, life-changing time and our fantastic maternity team is dedicated to making sure women have a wonderful experience with us. Over the past year our midwives have been busy visiting other midwifery-led units across the NHS to make sure we learn from the very best and we all feel very passionately about making our new birthing centre in South Tyneside a success.
“Giving birth under midwifery-led care is just as safe as giving birth under consultant-led care for those women with low risk pregnancies and we are excited to be able to offer something different to our local population and ultimately give local women more choice.
“We are writing personally to every woman who is booked to deliver with us during July and August and we look forward to sharing more information with them about our new maternity service and supporting them to make an informed choice on where they would like to give birth.”
The new midwifery-led birthing centre at South Tyneside District Hospital will provide a relaxing ‘home from home’ birthing experience for women with low risk pregnancies who have not experienced any complications. It will be run by highly experienced midwives for families who are keen to have a natural birth with minimum intervention. They will provide one-to-one personalised care in a calm, welcoming and relaxing atmosphere to help parents to bond with their baby in those first few, precious hours.
Both the new midwifery-led birthing centre at South Tyneside District Hospital and the Trust’s consultant-led maternity unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital offer en-suite birthing rooms with facilities for partners to stay overnight and flexible visiting times for families.
Pregnant women who would like to find out more about the changes should talk to their community midwife or call the numbers below to arrange a personal visit:
- 0191 404 1033 for the midwifery-led birthing centre, South Tyneside District Hospital (available 24/7)
- 0191 569 9777 for the consultant-led maternity unit, Sunderland Royal Hospital (available 24/7).
South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust is working closely with all health and care partners to ensure a smooth transition to the new maternity care model over the summer. To find out more about the new maternity service across South Tyneside and Sunderland visit www.stsft.nhs.uk.
Issued by Kay Jordan
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