Maternity care services slowly restarting across Bedfordshire

Newborn baby

Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have said that some maternity services in the area are slowly restarting after we raised concerns new born babies were missing out on important and routine medical appointments.

We contacted the Trust after new mother, Danielle Palmer from Biddenhem, wrote to us saying “the health of my baby, and many other babies across the borough, has been neglected.”

In her letter, Danielle added: “These routine appointments have been deemed important, vital even, at some point in time; are they now unimportant?

“During these appointments my baby would be checked over, weighed, and measured and while I feel that my baby is doing well I am a first time mum and there are things that can easily be missed by me – hence why the appointments are important.

“I am fully aware that I can contact my GP anytime I need to, I can access 111 services both online and by phone, and in the very worst case I can utilise A&E services.

“But as I say, the worry is that something important may be easily missed by me.”

Read: Letters: It takes a village to raise a child… our village has been taken from us

We put Danielle’s concerns to Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust who say they are now reinstating some of the services as coronavirus lockdown measures are relaxed.

“We know that during pregnancy, birth and beyond are crucial times when women and their families need our support the most,” said a Bedfordshire NHS Trust spokesperson.

“We take great pride and commitment to provide safe, supportive and compassionate maternity care.

“Decisions to implement changes to care are made by closely consulting national guidance to ensure the safety of all women and babies using our service.”

The trust also highlighted that there have been a number of online resources introduced to help new mothers and their families during this time.

This has included a host of online antenatal classes available on the Cambridgeshire Community Services website and the Luton Flying Start website.

They also revealed details of individual services and how they are currently being managed.

Tongue Tie Release Service

Although the inpatient activity of The Baby Tongue Tie Release Service at both Bedford Hospital and the Luton and Dunstable Hospital sites continued, the trust needed to make some changes to this service to allow for additional safety measures to be put in place in light of COVID-19.

The urgent referrals part of the Tongue Tie Release service has now started back up again on both sites.

Home births and Water births

In order to ensure a safe staffing level to meet the safety needs of our women, home births and water births were suspended for three-weeks at the L&D.

Both services resumed at the beginning of May. The Bedford Hospital site was able to continue to offer both these services with no interruption.

Additional face to face appointments

Although it has been necessary to reduce the frequency of the face to face antenatal appointments during this time, important contact between women and their midwives/consultants has remained via telephone consultations.

However, in order to provide more support and reassurance to our women during these times both sites re-introduced additional face to face appointments which are:

  • 28-week scan as well as the 36-week scan for women on a serial scan pathway at the L&D
  • Face to face appointment with midwife at 12-weeks and 38-weeks at Bedford Hospital

Bedfordshire NHS Trust added the reductions in maternity services was implemented at both Bedford Hospital and the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital (L&D) sites.

Full details of what has changed can be found at their website. The changes are being reviewed daily.

  • Correction: This article was amended on 31 May 2020 to replace “Bedfordshire NHS Trust” with “Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust”.

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