New maternity care programme rolled out across north Northumberland

A maternity programme has been expanded to improve care for mums and babies in north Northumberland.

Wednesday, 10th February 2021, 2:49 pm

The Bright Horizons team at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which already supports communities in Ashington, has rolled out its continuity of care programme in the Alnwick and Berwick areas.

The previous midwifery teams at the local midwife led units (MLU) in Alnwick and Berwick will become the Bright Horizons team, made up of one geographical team of ten midwives. Each midwife will have a dedicated home base, working as part of the team at that location to look after mums in that area.

This model will enable midwives to provide continuity of carer to women across the area, both low and high-risk, throughout the antenatal and postnatal period.

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Hillcrest Maternity Unit in Alnwick.

It also means it is more than likely that the women they are looking after will have a known midwife with them during labour.

Women receiving care through a continuity model such as this develop a supportive relationship built over time between the individual and their midwife which facilitates good-quality care, effective partnership working, coordination of care and advocacy for the woman.

It means that low risk women will be encouraged to labour and birth in the local MLUs where ever possible, and the midwives will schedule their shifts around the mums who have booked in their inductions and caesarean sections.

Jenna Wall, head of midwifery at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, explained: “For women this means seeing familiar faces at each of their maternity appointments, with the end goal of having their nominated midwife present at the birth.

Berwick Maternity Unit.

"For our midwives it means meaningful opportunities to discuss healthy habits during pregnancy and building trust and relationships with women so they are more likely to respond positively.

"By improving the experience of women on their maternity journey, overall outcomes are going to better for all.

"We are delighted to be rolling this model of care out to the women of Hillcrest and Berwick, and we hope to see it adapted across the region in the near future.”

Continuity of carer is seen nationally as the future model for maternity services and the implementation is being driven by the NHS’s maternity transformation programme.

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