Proposal to transform local maternity services is approved

The joint Governing Bodies of Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (BSW CCGs) today approved a proposal to improve and modernise maternity services across the region.

The decision follows a three-year period of engagement and consultation with more than 4,000 mums, families, staff and partners in the community to develop a new vision for maternity services, proposals for change and final recommendations.

The proposal was developed to better meet the needs and choices of women and families across the whole of Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire. These changes will mean more equal access to choice for women about where to have their babies, a more effective use of resources, a better supported homebirth service and enhanced antenatal and postnatal care.

Sarah Merritt, Acting Deputy Director of Nursing and Midwifery at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust said:
“These proposals will help us provide more choices for birth to more women and will build a strong foundation on which to enhance continuity of care so that more women can see the same midwife or small team of midwives before, during and after labour.

“The addition of Alongside Midwifery Units at the Royal United Hospital in Bath and at Salisbury Hospital will give our birthing mums a new option for labour and delivery, significantly enhancing choices in Salisbury in particular. Our midwives and staff are excited to embrace this new way of working in purpose built facilities.”

The BSW CCG Governing Bodies approved the proposal to:

1. Create an Alongside Midwifery Unit at Salisbury Hospital Foundation Trust.

2. Create an Alongside Midwifery Unit at the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

3. Continue to support births in two, not four Freestanding Midwifery Units.
This would mean births ceasing in Trowbridge and Paulton with antenatal and postnatal care continuing.

4. Enhance current provision of antenatal and postnatal care.

5. Improve and better promote home birth services.

6. Replace the five community postnatal beds in Paulton and the four community postnatal beds in Chippenham with support closer to, or in women’s homes. This will be phased with four beds remaining in Chippenham for up to 12 months to support co-creation of new pathways.

Dr Ruth Grabham, Medical Director for Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group and Governing Body member said:
“We are very grateful to everyone who gave their time and expertise over the last three years as this proposal was developed and refined. From mums and dads who use the services to clinical experts and local organisations – everyone has helped to steer a path through the complexities of service change.

“We know that in both Paulton and Trowbridge there were strong feelings in support of women continuing to be able to give birth in the existing Free Standing Midwifery Units and some people will be disappointed by today’s decision. However this proposal was approved to help us better meet the needs and choices of women and families across the whole of Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire.

“As a result of feedback we have delayed the closure of four of the community postnatal beds to allow more time to work with mums, families and staff to co-design a new community postnatal offer that will meet the needs of local people. The feedback, for example around breastfeeding and mental health support, will also be used to help shape our future maternity services.”

While services will be changing, it is important to note that approval of the proposal will not result in the closure of any buildings or reductions in budget and staffing for maternity services. Maternity services will remain available at all four FMUs antenatal and postnatal care will continue to be provided at these sites.

Chaya Tagore, Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) Lead and one of the members of the Expert Panel that reviewed the consultation results and developed the final recommendations said:
“It’s really important that all women across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire have easy access to maternity services and this proposal means more choice to more women about where to have their baby. I encourage expectant parents and those who have used maternity services in the last five years to get involved with the MVP.

“The next steps as new community hubs are developed, where women can access integrated care from pre-conception to postnatal care are wonderful opportunities for co-creation. As MVP Volunteers we are really excited about enhanced support for home births and ongoing care.”

We will continue to share information on the Transforming Maternity Services Together website. This will include proposed timeframes for changes to services. To get involved in the next phase of co-producing services please email maternity.transformationBSW@nhs.net

All the papers from today’s Governing Bodies meeting, along with supporting reports and documents are available on the Transforming Maternity Services website.

Proposal to transform local maternity services reaches final decision stage

The decision on a proposal to transform maternity services across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire will be made at the joint Governing Bodies meeting in common for the three Clinical Commissioning Groups on 16 January 2020.

Lucy Baker, Director of Service Delivery across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire said:
“Over the last three years we’ve worked with more than 4,500 mums, families, our staff, our partners in the community and those with an interest in maternity to co-create our future vision for maternity services, proposals for change and final recommendations.

“Following extensive consultation and review by an independent expert panel, we are ready for decisions to be made on the future on maternity services in the region.”

Sandra Richards, Transformation Midwife for BSW Local Maternity System said:
“We would like to thank everyone who took part in our consultation and shared their views with us. There were many suggestions for how we can improve maternity care and these have helped inform our future plans.

“Our goal is to provide more options of choice of birth to more women and to build a strong foundation on which to enhance continuity of care so that women see the same midwife or a small group of midwives before, during and after labour.”

The full consultation report and summary, Decision Making Business Case and other supporting materials are available on the Transforming Maternity Services Together website and the three CCG’s websites as part of Governing Bodies’ meeting papers.

The Governing Bodies meeting will be held in the Bloomfield Hall at Dorothy House Hospice Care, Winsley, Bradford on Avon BA15 2LE from 10.00 am to 12.00pm. Anyone who wants to attend the meeting should register using the link on the Bath and North East Somerset CCG website. Questions from the public must be submitted in writing three working days before the date of the meeting.

The decision of the Governing Bodies on the proposal will be shared after the meeting on social media and on the Transforming Maternity Services Together website, as well as the three CCG websites.