Maternity services have been transferred back into the hands of the RUH – after 22 years of the services being run by other NHS providers.
Whilst thousands of babies are born at the RUH every year, the Trust has not run maternity services at the hospital since 1992. However, following a successful bid at the start of the year, the RUH is now contracted to run maternity services for the next three years.
The move means that a more integrated approach to maternity can be instituted across the hospital, as well as in the five community hospitals in Wiltshire and Somerset whose maternity services the RUH will also be running as a result of the transfer. Staff at the RUH and at the birthing centres in Frome, Trowbridge, Chippenham, Paulton and Shepton Mallet have worked hard together to ensure a smooth handover from Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who previously ran the service.
Whilst expectant mothers may not have noticed, behind the scenes there has been a flurry of activity including transferring staff into the employ of the RUH, putting new policies in place, setting up computer systems, ordering new uniforms, re-branding documents and updating websites.
Dr Bernie Marden, Consultant Paediatrician and head of the newly formed Women and Children’s Division at the RUH, said: “The RUH is all about family and patient-centred care, and we believe that we will now be able to look after mothers and babies together much more effectively.
“Many of the processes involved in looking after patients have been streamlined as a result of our running the services. For example, babies born in the RUH’s Princess Anne Wing who needed to be admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit used to require an inter-hospital transfer because they were moving from one Trust to another. That is no longer the case.
“I am passionate about what can be achieved when we put the needs of patients and their families at the heart of what we do. We are confident that we can give women and their families meaningful maternity choices by designing and delivering services that are truly joined up, modern and accessible.”
Bernie added that the RUH will be working closely with parents and other stakeholders to develop the service in the near future.
A snapshot of maternity across the service*:
- A total of 4,952 births per year
- An average of 13 babies delivered every day
- Marginally more boys delivered than girls
- Thursday is the busiest day
- 182 antenatal women and 75 postnatal women are seen each day
- Mothers range in age from 14 to 50 years
- Average birth-weight is 7lbs 10oz
- 78% of women give birth in hospital
- One in five women give birth at home or at a community birthing centre
- 21-24% of women in labour are transferred from home or a birthing centre to hospital
- 23% of women have a caesarean section
* Based on data from 2013/14
For more information about maternity services visit the RUH website:www.ruh.nhs.uk/maternity