Decision about future arrangements at Helme Chase midwifery-led unit

Changes to make permanent an on-call service at Helme Chase midwifery-led unit in Kendal have been agreed.

NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) Governing Body agreed at its meeting on Wednesday February 1 to make permanent interim changes introduced in December 2014.

The changes confirm that the on-call service between 8pm and 8am, at weekends and bank holidays can continue. Women can still give birth at the unit 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

It follows a public consultation in Autumn 2016 carried out following discussion with the Health Scrutiny committee. Members of the Governing Body considered the feedback from more than 90 women who completed on street interviews with independent researchers, 14 people who sent in responses and comments from the MP and Kendal Town Council.

Eleanor Hodgson, NHS Cumbria CCG’s director of children’s and family services, said: “We are very grateful to everyone who took part in the consultation. We received some very useful comments which have helped us to think about what steps are needed to provide more reassurances and information to women who may wish to use Helme Chase.

“It was clear that many were concerned that Helme Chase would cease to be viable. Both NHS Cumbria CCG and the Trust have stressed their commitment to continuing to promote the unit as a place of delivery for women who are eligible to use it.”

The Governing Body also asked for assurances from the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust about the steps being taken to address some of the issues raised by women during the consultation.

A copy of the report that went to NHS Cumbria CCG’s Governing Body is available HERE.