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Swann hosts launch of new model for maternity services in Northern Ireland

Robin Swann MLA, Dr Dale Spence Midwifery Officer, Maria McIlgorm Chief Nursing Officer Department of Health

Pictured are Robin Swann MLA, Dr Dale Spence Midwifery Officer, and Maria McIlgorm Chief Nursing Officer Department of Health.

Ulster Unionist MLA Robin Swann, former Health Minister, has welcomed the development of a new and innovative model for maternity care in Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the launch in Stormont last week, Mr Swann welcomed the new Continuity of Midwifery Carer hailing it as a more effective and far more personable journey for families.


He said the recent decision by the Department of Health to take forward a new report looking at the consistency of midwifery services across Northern Ireland should be allowed to conclude before any changes are made to maternity services at Causeway hospital.


The North Antrim MLA said:


“The continuity of carer model is a new way of delivering maternity care so that women receive dedicated support from the same midwifery team throughout their pregnancy. It was an early concept that I was glad to be able to give my full support to during my time as Minister of Health and one which development on has since continued at pace.


“There are few experiences as important as pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting. Whilst the vast majority of women thankfully have positive encounters, for some there is a sense of lack of individuality. With staff under major pressure, sometimes expectant parents rarely see the same face twice.   


“Now, under this new model which I was glad to lay the foundations for, each pregnant woman will have a named midwife who in turn will be responsible for co-ordinating all the aspects of the woman’s care. There is clear evidence that shows a positive pregnancy experience and a positive relationship between care giver and receiver leads to better outcomes and safety for both the woman and baby.


“I also very much welcome the recent announcement from the Department of Health that is has recently appointed an expert Professor to undertake work to inform a consistent approach to the provision of midwifery services throughout Northern Ireland. Importantly, the review is going to include a comprehensive and independent review of freestanding midwifery led units.

“Given this new review, I firmly believe any decision by the Northern Trust to proceed with the changes to the maternity service at Causeway Hospital would be entirely premature. Therefore, following the lead of the Department, I would now call on the Trust to postpone the changes recently announced for the service, not least until this review has been allowed time to conclude.”


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