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West Suffolk Hospital set to officially launch its Better Births programme

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. (11512767)
West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. (11512767)

West Suffolk Hospital is set to officially launch its new way of working for maternity services next week.

The aim of its Better Births programme is to deliver a more personalised service to new mothers and their families, with each pregnant mum getting her own dedicated midwifery team and the reassurance of a midwife she knows present at the birth.

Initially, six new ‘continuity of care’ teams have been created across Ipswich, West Suffolk and Colchester hospitals, providing antenatal, birth and post-natal care and offering new mothers an unparalleled level of support.

And latest figures from March show around 400 women benefiting from the care provided by these teams during their pregnancy. That figure is set to increase as the service develops over time and receives input from service users and staff.

Embracing regular contact will help midwives to better ensure the good physical and mental wellbeing of mothers and babies, including encouraging greater levels of breastfeeding, reducing the prevalence of smoking, helping prevent diabetes and supporting good mental health.

The development of a trusting relationship between health professionals and pregnant women will help support healthy births. The ambition of introducing this new way of caring for women is to see a 20 per cent reduction in stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths and brain injuries by 2020 and a 50 per cent reduction by 2050.

The introduction of the Better Births programme forms part of the National Maternity Review that aims to deliver maternity outcomes across the country.

Lynne Saunders, Head of Midwifery at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Working closer with our partners in healthcare to ensure an even more personalised and supported maternity care and birth for every new family in our area is an important development.

“We want every family to have a positive maternity experience, and ensuring a consistent community and acute midwifery team are available who can get to know parents personally, answer their questions, and offer them useful information will help to support a healthy pregnancy, birth, and enhanced postnatal care.”