New and future mums in and around Berwick are being asked to feedback their experiences on the new model of maternity care in the town.
Following a public consultation over the winter of 2012/13, which looked at how maternity services in Berwick should be provided, a new model of maternity care was implemented last summer.
This saw the opening times for Berwick maternity unit change from 24/7 to 9am-6pm Monday to Friday and 9am-2.30pm at weekends, with an on-call service for low-risk women who wish to deliver at the unit or at home.
Antenatal and postnatal clinics for low and high-risk women are also provided along with enhanced community midwifery support, for those who need it.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust reinstated deliveries on July 1 2013 and since then 10 births have taken place.
Now NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the organisation responsible for planning and choosing local health services, is carrying out an evaluation to see how the new arrangements are working.
Mums are being asked to feedback their experiences so the CCG can assess how the new model of care.
Dr Alistair Blair, chief clinical officer of NHS Northumberland CCG, said that one of the promises the CCG had made on the conclusion of the public consultation was to look at how the new model of care was working after a few months.
Dr Blair said: “The general feeling is that the new model of care is working well in Berwick, however, we are mindful of what we heard from local people during the consultation and it is right that we carry out an evaluation.
“This way we can gain assurance on how the service is working for local women and that it is safe and sustainable.
“We are really pleased that low-risk women are choosing to have their baby at Berwick, with 10 safe births since July. We know how important this issue has been locally and we hope that people will feel we have addressed some of their concerns from the consultation.
“It is really important that we do what we can to preserve rural services and we continue to work very closely with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust now and in the future.”
Dr Blair continued: “I would urge any mothers or fathers with recent experiences of maternity services in Berwick to let us know their thoughts to help us evaluate how things are working.”
Dr Blair said that the outcome and findings of the evaluation would be reported publicly when it was complete.
Janice McNichol, head of midwifery at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The arrangements which were put in place last summer are working well and we are delighted that women are choosing to have their babies in Berwick and are benefitting from the personal, one-to-one care we provide at the unit.”
She added: “We welcome Northumberland CCG’s evaluation of the service and would encourage local people who have used the service to give their feedback.”