Researchers return to give women say on maternity options

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INDEPENDENT researchers will return to Berwick in the coming weeks to talk to women about options for future midwifery-led services in the town.

This is part of the 14-week public consultation launched in December by NHS North of Tyne, to seek the views of local people about two options for midwifery-led care in Berwick.

The two options, put forward by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust following a safety review of midwifery-led services in Berwick, are resuming services as they were before the temporary suspension in August; or providing a 24/7 on call midwifery-led service which would enable low risk women to give birth in Berwick, either in a birthing room or at home.

Researchers, from independent company Explain, have been commissioned to talk to women who have either recent experience of using maternity services or who may use them in the future. This will include around 200 surveys which will be completed on the street in busy locations. There will also be 30 in depth telephone interviews, again targeting women of child-bearing age.

Dr Mike Guy, medical director of NHS North of Tyne, said: “We really do want to hear from local people about the options for midwifery-led services in Berwick. We are doing everything we can to engage as many people. We are particularly keen to hear from women who have recent experience of using maternity services or who may use them in the future so we can understand how we can best meet their needs while at the same time providing the safest possible services.”

Dr Alistair Blair, chief clinical officer (designate) for NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group, which will take over responsibility from NHS North of Tyne on April 1 for commissioning the majority of healthcare for people living in the county, said: “This is an important consultation and we hope that people living in Berwick and the surrounding area will take time to share their views about the two options proposed for midwifery-led services.

“Making sure that we provide the highest levels of clinical safety is paramount for both mothers and their babies and feedback from local people during this consultation will help us as we shape services going forward.”

Two public meetings will be held at the Maltings on Wednesday, January 30 at 1.30pm, and on Wednesday, March 6 at 6.30pm, to enable local people to make their comments known.

A survey is also available on-line at which will be independently analysed. Comments about the options can be emailed to: posted to Freepost Plus RRYY-HGHX-TESR, NHS North of Tyne, Berwick Maternity Consultation, 1 Esh Plaza, Sir Bobby Robson Way, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE13 9BA, or you can ring 0191 217 2599 with your comments.

All comments must be made by March 19 2013. They will all be taken into consideration and included in a report to the NHS North of Tyne board which meets in public on March 26 2013.

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