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New maternity model tested at four hospitals

UK News | Published:

A package of measures is aimed at improving neonatal services for mothers and babies.

A new way of delivering neonatal care is being tested at four Scottish hospitals, with the aim of improving maternity services for mothers and babies.

The focus of the new model is continuity of care and making sure newborns with specialist requirements get the best start possible.

Expectant mothers will receive care from a primary midwife alongside a small team for their “whole maternity journey”, the Scottish Government said, while support will be on hand to help parents with babies in neonatal units.

The new package of measures, backed with £12 million of Government cash, is being tested at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock.

Babies needing the most specialist care will be treated at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow before returning to their local neonatal unit.

The model will also be trialled between Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy and the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh later this year.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “These steps to transform our maternity services will ensure mums, babies and other family members are all supported from pregnancy to birth and after.

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“To achieve this, we are looking at community maternity services right through to the care for the most premature babies, where we know outcomes are improved when they are in a unit with a higher throughput of cases and where support services, such as surgery, are nearby.”

The new model follows recommendations made in the report The Best Start: A Five Year Forward Plan for Maternity and Neonatal Care, published in January 2017.

There are around 55,000 babies born each year in Scotland, according to Government figures, with about 6,500 admitted to neonatal care.

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Of these babies around 1,500 are admitted to neonatal intensive care.

Professor Hazel Borland, nurse director at NHS Ayrshire and Arran, said: “Our maternity and neonatal teams are dedicated to providing the best possible care to babies and their mums in the safest and most appropriate environment.

“A particular focus for us has been striving for continuity of midwife during pregnancy, and implementing transitional care. This change in working aims to keep babies who need a higher level of care and their mums together.”

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