Anaesthesia for Maternity

Anaesthesia for maternity (obstetric anaesthesia) at James Cook is led by seven consultant anaesthetists with a specialist interest in maternity anaesthesia.

Dr David Cooper, Dr K Kokri, Dr Tim Meek, Dr Mike Tennant, Dr Rebekah Thompson and Dr James Winnard work alongside experienced anaesthetists in training who rotate through our hospital. An anaesthetist is resident in the central delivery suite at all times.

We provide:Maternity

  • Anaesthesia for caesarean section (planned and emergency)
  • Epidural pain relief for labour (24 hour service)
  • Anaesthesia for other occasional operations or procedures related to labour and delivery

All of our care is based on the best evidence available to us, and we have our own set of frequently updated written guidelines that we work from. Having these helps keep us up to date and means that trainee anaesthetists working on their own have an immediately available source of advice.

We also take referrals to see women in high-risk categories during pregnancy so that detailed plans can be made for anaesthetic care. We do this even if surgery is not planned, to enable planning for emergencies. This would include problems such as diseases of the heart, lungs or nervous system, but also more common problems such as obesity, which it is known cause problems with anaesthesia. We have written guidelines specifying which women we like to be referred to us, and we have provided these guidelines to the midwives and doctors in the antenatal clinic.

Doctors in training

James Cook is a well-respected and popular site for anaesthetic training. We are lucky to have a steady stream of enthusiastic trainee anaesthetists rotating through all of our departments. In maternity, trainees are only allowed to anaesthetise without supervision after around two years of experience, and only after they have been judged to be competent. Even then, if a trainee anaesthetist is working alone in maternity, consultant back-up is always available.

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