Babies could be born in Hartlepool Hospital from April under plans for town hospital
Health chiefs have declared the maternity centre in Hartlepool will be able to host births from April, if mothers choose to go there.
Hartlepool Borough Council Audit and Governance Committee last year completed an investigation into providing high quality maternity services at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust bosses provided the committee with an update on an action plan mapped out to improve maternity services in the town and said the maternity centre will be ready to host births from April.
They added they have already identified 60 women, highlighted as ‘low risk’ who could give birth at the midwife-led unit in Hartlepool, and said they will be given the option of the services on offer.
Councillors also urged it was crucial to get the message out there to expectant mothers they could have their babies at the midwife-led unit at the hospital, and do so safely.
Hospital bosses echoed the call and said it was crucial a joint communication strategy is drawn up to attract people to the facility.
Julie Lane, from North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said they also want to rebrand the birthing centre in the coming months.
She said: “We have a group of midwives who are enthusiastic and are ready to go into the birthing centre.
“One of the things we do want to do is we want to change the name of the birthing centre to something a little bit more women friendly.
“The birthing centre doesn’t sound quite right and it doesn’t actually say what it is now, we’ve got the maternity hub as well, it’s a different set up.
“From April women can book into the Hartlepool unit, and those who are already booked can choose to move there if they meet the criteria.”
She added it was about giving women the choice and although those at greater risk would need further medical support, women expected to have a ‘low risk’ birth and could use the midwife-led Hartlepool centre.
Ms Lane said: “We’re very excited about this, this is exactly how I would want to be working if I was a midwife.
“We do need to work together to be able to brand this, for me it’s not just about women in Hartlepool, I would expect women from other areas as well to come in.”
Councillors stressed the importance of women being able to give birth in the town, and added the majority should be able to do so.
Coun Marjorie James said: “Most women will go on to deliver perfectly well with a midwife in support.
“Hartlepool is a very precious place, we need babies to be born in Hartlepool for Hartlepool to have a meaningful future, so it’s absolutely right that we fight for babies to be born in Hartlepool.”
Coun Brenda Loynes raised concerns staff had previously been putting mothers off giving birth at the midwife-led Hartlepool centre and said everyone must be fully informed.
She said: “I’m passionate about getting our hospital back up and running in every department.”