As you will be aware the current demand for NHS services has risen exponential and locally we are working hard across the healthcare system to meet the needs of local people as quickly and as safely as possible. Whilst the number of patients we are caring for with COVID-19 is thankfully not at the levels we experienced at the height of the pandemic, we are facing unprecedented workforce challenges due to COVID-19 infection and isolation.
Our priority is to ensure that we deliver safe services and based on the strong advice from our clinical teams we are having to take the very difficult decision to temporarily close home birthing services. Home birth services at UHNM have been suspended temporarily on multiple occasions over the last four weeks and to ensure that all of our maternity services are as safe as possible we are now informing the women who were planning to use this service (which currently averages two women each month) that it will be closed until the 30 September 2021. Those women who are affected are being contacted and will be offered the choice of giving birth in UHNM’s Midwife Birth Centre at Royal Stoke Hospital and will continue to be supported by the midwifery team throughout their pregnancy and birth.
The temporary closure of home birth services is not a decision that has been taken lightly. It has been made to enable the midwives who are on call for home births to be redeployed on to the Royal Stoke site and ensure that there are enough specialist staff available in the Midwife Birth Centre. By taking this difficult decision UHNM will be able to continue with the our programme of antenatal and postnatal clinics supporting the women and their babies which, if had to be rearranged, would affect over 30 women.
We would like to stress that this is a temporary change, made for safety reasons and we are aiming to reinstate the home birthing service from the 1 October 2021 or as workforce challenges allow. As always we are more than happy to discuss any questions you may have relating to the temporary change.
We have been working to improve maternity services across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent since 2016 and continue to listen to as many views and experiences of women and their families as possible, to help us progress our work. Find out how you can get involved below.
Share your experience of maternity services in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
Together We’re Better, the local health and care partnership, is seeking to improve midwifery services in these areas by offering more personalised care around the needs of pregnant people and their families.
Our clinicians and staff are working to develop proposals to support an on-demand model – this includes exploring how we can restore births at County and Samuel Johnson, which were temporarily closed due to COVID-19. There is more work for us to do, behind the scenes before we can confirm this model will happen. We will need to listen to our staff as we look to develop a continuity of carer rota. We will also need to train and recruit new midwives to support this community model
We hope that by autumn/winter 2021 we will be able to offer this model – subject to the COVID-19 situation
Listening to your views
We also want to listen to the views of people who use, work in or support maternity services to inform our proposals.
On Friday 16 July we held a virtual event to get feedback from people. We will also be holding a second virtual event on Thursday 12 August, from 7pm until 8.30pm. We want to hear from people who have given birth in the last three years, are currently pregnant or are thinking of starting or expanding their family in the next few years. Partners and anyone working in maternity services are also encouraged to attend and share their views and experiences. We would especially like to hear from people that have accessed maternity services in Stafford and the surrounding areas, and Lichfield and the surrounding areas.
Register here for this event before midnight on 9 August 2021.
You can also watch our short video to listen to our midwives talking about potential future ways of working for maternity services. https://youtu.be/C3IBPZtMk0Q
Don’t have time for the full video? Watch our short videos, below:
What is Continuity of Carer and an On Demand Service: https://youtu.be/Q7cUm-sAc8A
Where can I give birth?: https://youtu.be/kBixIg59BwU
The feedback from the event and this survey will help to inform and shape future maternity services. We will aim to keep you informed and involved as we develop our proposals. The feedback from this event and the survey will be considered by the hospital trusts and the Clinical Commissioning Groups and will be published on our website.
If you need printed copies of the documents, need documents in different formats or languages or need help to complete the survey, please call us on 0333 150 2155.
Listening exercise 2019
Listening exercise 2019
In Summer 2019 we listened to the experiences of people using health and care services across the county and city. Using this feedback, we have moved into the next phase of the programme: the options development and appraisal process. During this phase our technical experts (including clinicians, staff and subject experts) are using the feedback from our engagement activity, alongside information and data from the different service areas to develop proposals for the future delivery of these services.
We also held workshops in Autumn 2019 to share the feedback from the listening exercise, the emerging models of care and sought views on the desirable criteria. The desirable criteria (e.g. quality of care and accessibility) will be used to evaluate and score proposals for the future delivery of services across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
As part of this, we want to speak to more women, and their families, with experience of maternity services or who plan to use maternity services. More workshops with the public are being planned over the coming months to help inform these proposals and dates for these will be released shortly. No decisions have been made at this early stage of development.
or call on 01785 276926.
We hope that, by listening to the views of service users and interested groups, we will get a balanced view from these workshops, with which to move forward. You can find more information about this work, here.
Maternity Focus Groups January/February 2020
Maternity Focus Groups January/February 2020
To complement the above work, we held focus groups across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent throughout January and February 2020. We used these focus groups to speak to new mums, expectant mums, people thinking about having a baby and relevant maternity staff, to listen to their views and experiences of local maternity services.
This work will form part of the Together We’re Better Maternity Transformation Programme and the feedback gathered will help to inform and improve maternity services in local areas.
Through January and February last year we held the following focus groups:
- 24 January, Charnwood Children’s Centre, Lichfield
- 27 January, East Staffordshire Children’s Centre, Burton-on-Trent
- 28 January, Newcastle Community Fire Station, Newcastle-under-Lyme
- 29 January, Rising Brook Community Centre, Stafford
- 4 February, Cannock Chase Children’s Centre, Cannock Chase
- 7 February, The Dudson Centre, Stoke-on-Trent
Mothers and midwives from across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent have so far told Together We’re Better about a variety of different experiences; praising staff for their hard work and dedication, but saying that their experience would be better if they had seen the same doctors and midwives throughout their pregnancy and after birth. We’ve also heard a lot about mental health issues during pregnancy and after birth, for both the mother and partner, amongst a wide range of other areas where things are working well and where services could be improved.
We will continue to involve maternity service users throughout the year and upcoming sessions/chances to get involved will be shared across our social media and on this page.
There are plenty more ways you can get involved with our Maternity Transformation programme, such as becoming a Maternity Champion. Find out more about this and other ways of getting involved here.