Midwives and staff at the Friarage maternity centre are opening their doors to the general public for the first time next week to showcase the excellent services that are still available for women and their babies.
Among the visitors will be Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, who will officially ‘open’ the centre and meet the team who work there.
The centre has been a midwifery-led unit since last October and is run by a team of experienced and skilled midwives who provide friendly individualised care to women with straightforward pregnancies.
To-date more than 150 babies have been born there and partners are also welcome to stay in the en-suite rooms during and after the birth.
Deborah Hebblethwaite, a midwife and the maternity centre’s manager, said: “I think there are still some people out there who think we’re not here anymore but we are, we have a great team and we want to shout about it.
“Opening the unit for the afternoon is a great way to share what we do with the local community and we’re delighted that Cathy has agreed to come along for the official opening and spend some time with us. We’re looking forward to continuing to provide care for lots more mothers and their babies at the centre.”
While the unit caters for straight-forward births, women with high risk pregnancies can still receive all their outpatient antenatal care at the Friarage with a consultant obstetrician. The only difference is they would need to deliver in a consultant-led obstetric unit where facilities for complications are more immediately available.
It also recently received UNICEF’ stage 3 ‘baby friendly’ accreditation for the promotion of breast-feeding, with the mums who were interviewed speaking extremely highly of the care they had received.
Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “I am delighted to be opening the unit. The facilities are first class and I am sure they will be welcomed and well used by women in the area, as indeed they already are with over 150 births so far.
“The unit’s success demonstrates the benefits of midwife led care and its appeal to women. Open days such as this are a wonderful way to show women and their families who may be considering using it what the unit has to offer.”
The ‘open day’ will be held in the community ‘hub’ of the maternity centre between midday and 4pm and will feature displays about the unit, community midwifery services, the maternity day unit as well as general information.
A video depicting the work of the centre will also be showcased on the day before being featured on the trust’s website.