December 2021: Maternity Services Update
Maternity services are open and here to support you. This is a joint letter from the senior leadership team at Gloucestershire Hospitals and Gloucestershire Maternity Voices Partnership
As you know, every part of the NHS is currently under extreme and sustained pressure. We would like to take this opportunity to reassure you that your maternity services are open for business and here to support you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Our priority is always to support you to have a safe, positive pregnancy and birth experience; to do this we want to ensure that you have all the information you need to make informed decisions about your care. It is important that you have all the information when making choices about where you want to give birth to your baby. We realise how difficult it is currently, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and we know that information about health options during your pregnancy and birth are essential to you when making choices.
To ensure you remain well, we are strongly advising you to get a COVID-19 booster vaccination as soon as possible or, if you haven’t had a first or second vaccination, to take this offer up. There are increased risks to you, your baby and your health if you should get COVID whilst pregnant and especially so if you are not vaccinated given the benefit of vaccination on reducing the severity of symptoms in those who contract the virus. All vaccination sites in Gloucestershire have been instructed to provide priority access to pregnant women – you simply need to inform the staff in the vaccination centre on arrival and you will be prioritised. Vaccination is recommended at any stage of pregnancy so please do not delay. You can book your vaccination online using the national booking link or by calling 119. The local vaccination portal also lists some of the vaccination hub locations and includes some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about vaccination during pregnancy. If you wish to talk to anyone about this, please contact your Community Midwife for further support.
As you may know, ambulance services are no exception to the pressures the NHS is facing and are experiencing extremely high demand at the moment. As a consequence, it is possible that ambulance response times in the community may be longer than usual. If you call an ambulance during your pregnancy or plan to give birth in one of our freestanding midwifery birth centres or at home, there may be a chance of a delay if you require an ambulance transfer to hospital. It is important that you are aware this could happen and your midwife will talk to you about this, and any potential impact on your pregnancy and plans for birth. If, given all the information, you choose to give birth at home or within one of the freestanding birth centres, we will continue to support you and strive to provide you with safe and personalised care.
If you become unwell or have any concerns about your health, including your baby’s movements, we advise you to call our Maternity Advice Line as soon as possible for advice. Our midwives are available 24 hours a day. Please do not wait, we want to be able to see you early and ensure you get the care or support you need – there is no such thing as a wasted call.
Maternity Advice Line (triage): 0300 422 5541 - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Your Community Midwife will discuss your pregnancy and birth plans with you during your appointments.
The senior management team is available and if you would like to discuss anything further or have any concerns, please contact us:
Lisa Stephens – Head of Midwifery: lisa.stephens10@NHS.net
Vivien Mortimore – Chief Midwife: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to share any feedback or express your views on the situation, you can also contact Gloucestershire Maternity Voices at email@example.com
If you become unwell or have any concerns about your health, including your baby’s movements, please call our
Maternity Advice Line (triage): 0300 422 5541 - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
In this video, Maternity Voices Partnership Chair Kathy Meansworth talks to Head of Midwifery Lisa Stephens about this letter and what it means for people who use our maternity services