Berwick births to begin again from next week

Berwick Infirmary Maternity Unit
Berwick Infirmary Maternity Unit

Berwickshire mums-to-be with low risk pregnancies will have more birthing options from Saturday, when deliveries begin again at Berwick.

Berwick’s midwifery-led maternity unit is due to cater for births once again from July 1, following an 11-month suspension of deliveries there.

Northumbria NHS Trust ceased deliveries and inpatient care at the Berwick unit last August, as a result of two serious safety incidents which prompted a review of the service.

But low-risk women wishing to give birth in Berwick will now have the choice to do so following the recent decision by NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to introduce a new model of maternity care in the town.

New arrangements will be in place from this weekend with Berwick Maternity Unit open from 9am-6pm Monday to Friday and 9am-2.30pm at weekends, with a 24/7 on-call service for low-risk women who wish to deliver at the unit or at home.

Janice McNichol, head of midwifery at Northumbria NHS Trust, said: “We are delighted to get births back underway in Berwick and I would like to personally thank each and every member of staff at Berwick Maternity Unit for their professionalism and commitment over the past 10 months.

“From the outset we have been wholly committed to making sure we can provide a safe and sustainable maternity service in Berwick and I am confident this new model of working will ensure the very best care for pregnant women in the town.”

Mums-to-be in Berwick will also soon be able to benefit from a new state-of-the-art birthing pool which is due to be installed in the coming weeks thanks to funding secured by the Trust from the Department of Health.

Janice added: “It is fantastic news for local women that we will soon be able to offer water births in the town and we really do hope this will give low-risk women an extra reason to choose Berwick Maternity Unit for their midwifery-led care.”

Dr Alistair Blair, chief clinical officer from Northumberland CCG, said: “I’m very pleased to hear that the new midwifery-led service in Berwick will be soon up and running. We hope this will be welcomed by women in Berwick and the surrounding area.”

Campaigners fighting for deliveries to restart at the unit have welcomed the news that women will once again be able to give birth at the unit, but have expressed concerns about the limited inpatient aftercare under the new system.