Hospital bosses have welcomed plans for a hub to be created as part of bid to improve maternity services in Hartlepool.
It comes after members of Hartlepool Borough Council’s audit and governance committee called for increased maternity services at the University Hospital of Hartlepool after an in-depth investigation into services.
Councillors said the development of a hub offering a range of maternity and family services would be positive for the town.
They also added their preferred option continues to be the re-establishment of a full consultant-led maternity unit at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
Bosses at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said they would welcome the hubs and would work to provide a ‘seamless’ maternity service across the area.
A hospital trust spokesperson said: “Here at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust we are always looking to explore new ways in which we can work even closer with our local partners.
“We would welcome the opportunity to work towards creating Community Maternity Hubs with the local authority, providing the women of North Tees and Hartlepool with a seamless maternity service.”
Coun Brenda Loynes, chair of the council audit and governance committee, said she has had conversations with health bosses and is hopeful of more maternity services returning to the town.
Councillors added it was important for families to be able to have their children in Hartlepool to help ‘keep the heritage’ of the town.
It comes after a council investigation in which they heard from a series of expert witnesses, carried out an online survey of new mums’ experiences and visited a similar midwife-led hub in Blackburn.
It also comes after there were just three births at the University Hospital of Hartlepool in 2017.
Maternity service provision at the hospital changed in 2008, which saw consultant obstetricians removed and the creation of a midwife-led “open when required” birthing centre.
Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service