Essex: Maternity services’ review consultation begins

Maternity services' consultation for north Essex.

Maternity services' consultation for north Essex. - Credit: IAN BURT

A consultation into the future of maternity services in north Essex begins tomorrow.

Run jointly by the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (NEE CCG) and Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust (CHUFT), the consultation relates to maternity services across North East Essex provided in the community as well as at Colchester General Hospital, the Fryatt Hospital in Harwich and Clacton Hospital.

People are being asked whether maternity units in Clacton and Harwich should return to being open 24/7 for births, or if they should continue to be open during the day and then “on demand” overnight – where a midwife will meet a mum in labour at the unit when needed.

Views are also wanted on increasing the number of places where women can receive ante-natal and post-natal care to include the home and children’s centres as well as GP surgeries and the hospitals.

Lisa Llewelyn, director of nursing and clinical quality at NEE CCG, said: “There has been ongoing discussion about maternity services in our area for some time. This is an opportunity for everyone who has an interest to give their views.

“We can then take an informed decision about the future of the service and ensure certainty for mothers and their families and for staff.”

Amanda Hallums, divisional director for Women and Children’s Services at CHUFT, added: “Our midwives and doctors look forward to meeting members of the public during the consultation period.

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“Engaging with the wider public is very important to us to achieve our goal of high quality and easily accessible maternity services across North East Essex.”

The consultation runs until December 10.

Its launch had been delayed to avoid clashing with the Clacton by-election campaign as health chiefs feared it could become a political football.

People can have their say online or at a series of drop-in events. For more details visit the consultation web page.