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Out of hours midwifery-led antenatal clinics rolled-out

L-R: Sarah Craig, Student Midwife at the University of Cumbria and Community Midwives; Janice Holroyd, Stephanie Lowe, Tracey Kirkpatrick; Sharon Olorenshaw and Liz Fuery.
L-R: Sarah Craig, Student Midwife at the University of Cumbria and Community Midwives; Janice Holroyd, Stephanie Lowe, Tracey Kirkpatrick; Sharon Olorenshaw and Liz Fuery.

A new midwifery-led antenatal clinic, which allows new mums-to-be to be seen ‘out-of-hours’, has proved so successful that the service has now been rolled-out across all University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust’s (UHMBT) maternity departments.

The new antenatal clinic, which operates outside of the core 9am – 5pm hours, was first set up as a ‘pilot’ late last year at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI) in response to feedback from other expectant mums who attended the local Maternity Service Liaison Committee.

The Maternity Services Liaison Committee (MSLC) is a service user group for the public and health professionals to work together to influence maternity services covering the entire Morecambe Bay area. Members include mums, dads, parents to be, grandparents, NHS Doctors, Health Visitors and Midwives from the local area and members of local community groups who provide their services and support to expectant mums and new parents and babies.

The pilot was developed and led by a team of UHMBT midwives made up of Stephanie Lowe, Anne Wallhouse, Jackie Wild, Helena Bevan and UHMBT’s ‘Midwife of the year’, Amanda Plackett.

Stephanie Lowe, Community Midwife, UHMBT, said: “We regularly hold a number of meetings across Cumbria and North Lancashire to listen to women and families about what we are doing well and how we can make further improvements across the service to make their experience more positive and ensure it meets their needs.

“What became clear to us was that local women wanted more flexibility, especially around ante-natal clinic appointments. We heard that mums-to-be often had to take time off work, or make alternative child-care arrangements to allow them to attend their routine antenatal check-ups.

“The new service allows mums-to-be and their partners to be seen for any routine, non-emergency antenatal checks, and to discuss individual birthing plans with a community midwife.

“The attendance and take-up of the initial pilot out-of-hours antenatal clinic we ran at the RLI on Monday evenings was so good we have now extended the service to Saturday’s as well, and have also rolled-out the out-of-hours clinics at Furness General Hospital (FGH) and Westmorland General Hospital (WGH).

“The whole point of these new clinics is to offer women more flexibility by making our services more accessible to them, and we are really pleased that they have been successful and well-received so far.”

The new out-of-hours midwifery-led antenatal clinics are for non-emergencies and are by appointment only. They take place:

  • RLI: Every Monday (5pm – 8pm) and Saturday (9.30am – 12.00pm, starting 4 June 2016). Appointments can be booked by calling 01524 583867.
  • FGH: Every Tuesday (5pm – 8pm). Appointments can be booked by calling 01229 491035.
  • WGH (Helme Chase): Every Wednesday (5pm – 8pm) Appointments can be booked by calling 01539 795375.

Service user representative and chair of the bay-wide Maternity Services Liaison Committee, Mel Gard said: “I think this change will make a real difference to women’s experience of care in pregnancy. This development demonstrates how UHMBT are listening to families about what works best for them – I am delighted the Trust has responded to the feedback”.

Sascha Wells, Deputy Director and Head of Midwifery, UHMBT said: “This is a great example of our midwives listening to what local woman want, and working alongside them to improve and develop the services we offer. Well done to the whole team who have worked creatively to offer a more flexible service to improve the services and care we offer.

“We are now working on how we can extend this further into the community, as part of the wider Better Care Together strategy which aims to co-ordinate care across the eleven partner organisations working in health and social care across Morecambe Bay. This includes looking at the possibility of offering future drop-in clinics within community centres, children’s centres and pre-school groups.”

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