AN independent survey giving mums and mums-to-be in Berwick the opportunity to have their voice heard about maternity services has been piloted today.
A researcher has been in the town to test out the questions and consider if any changes need to be made before launching the survey next week. The research will involve a representative sample of the overall local population in Berwick and will be completed by mid October.
Following next week’s launch, researchers will be talking to around 200 local women of child bearing age. This will take place ‘on street’ in busy locations, such as Berwick market place, as well as at local mother and toddler groups including Sure Start centres and other venues where mothers meet with their children. A short online survey will also be available for the many others who wish to have their say, details of which will be available next week.
Following the temporary closure for births and post natal inpatient care at Berwick Maternity Unit last month, both Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and NHS North of Tyne, as commissioners of the services, have reassured the public that they will have an opportunity to have their voice heard.
Services were temporarily suspended from 1 August due to serious safety concerns as a result of some recent safety incidents. This is linked to the lack of births taking place at the unit and the lack of opportunity for midwives to practice their regular birthing skills.
Dr Mike Guy, medical director of NHS North of Tyne, said: “As commissioners of the service we are very keen to understand the care that Berwick women are looking for at all stages of their pregnancy to help better plan services for the future.
“In Berwick and the surrounding area many women are choosing to have their babies at Wansbeck, Newcastle or Borders and we need to understand what was important to them when they made these decisions. We also want to hear from local women about what other care is important to them at the different stages of pregnancy, including after the baby is born.”
The outcome of the independent research will be considered as part of the review that is currently being carried out by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and which is due to conclude at the end of October.
David Evans, medical director of Northumbria Healthcare, added: “We are very pleased that this research will be taking place over the next month so that we can better understand both the views and concerns of women in Berwick about their maternity care. The results of this will be incorporate into the final review.”