Maternity services update January 2023

26 Jan 2023, 12:07 p.m.

This summary provides the latest update on Maternity Services provision in Gloucestershire following a recent review

As promised late last year, our senior team in Maternity has reviewed the staffing situation in Maternity and presented the following recommendations, which the Board has supported. We reiterate previous assurances about our long-term commitment to the future of both Stroud Maternity Unit (SMU) and Cheltenham Aveta

Chief Nurse, Matt Holdaway

Cheltenham Aveta Birth Unit

The Cheltenham Aveta birth unit will remain closed for labour and birth

  • All other services at the unit, including planned antenatal care, continue to be provided.

Stroud Maternity

Stroud Maternity is open but the Postnatal beds will remain closed

  • Postnatal care for families in Stroud continues to be available in the first 6/12 hours post birth in Stroud birthing rooms after which families are discharged home. If a mother or baby born at Stroud needs postnatal care that requires on-going in hospital monitoring, this will be accommodated on our Maternity Ward at GRH
  • The community midwifery service in Stroud remains unchanged. Women are offered home visits or the opportunity to attend a postnatal clinic run by midwives in the postnatal period
  • Breastfeeding parent support is available at the Unit.

Gloucestershire Royal Hospital Maternity Services

All our services at the Gloucester Birth Unit and the Central Delivery Suite, both in the Women’s Centre at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital (GRH), are unaffected by these temporary changes.

Home births

We continue to offer planned home births but there may be rare occasions when it is not safe to do so due to staffing challenges and this is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Recruitment and retention update

Our dedicated midwifery recruitment team has implemented several targeted initiatives. Although we have recruited several new midwives over the last few months and have seven more new midwives starting with us in February and March, this must be balanced against maternity leave, sickness absence and resignations. This challenging environment is a national issue, as outlined by the Royal College of Midwives this month.

Chief Nurse Matt Holdaway concludes:

“With staffing levels remaining uncertain, these limited temporary suspensions will be reviewed again in April this year, when we hope to provide a more detailed picture of the likely timeline for the reinstatement of these services.

“The safety of all babies, women and birthing people remains the guiding principle behind every difficult decision. We strive to retain as much choice as possible for women and families within the difficult circumstances we are currently operating in and apologise to everyone who continues to be affected by the difficult choices we have to make.”

More information is available on our website including FAQs.