Helpline set up after hundreds of pregnant women left without a midwife
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Hundreds of pregnant women in Essex have been left in the lurch after a company providing midwifery service in the county went into administration.
Around 280 women - including 80 who are each more than 30 weeks into their pregnancy - used services provided by One to One Midwives.
The firm, which provided midwifery services across Essex and the North West of England announced on Wednesday evening, July 31, that they would be ceasing trading.
The first private company to provide maternity care for NHS patients, it gave mums-to-be a named caregiver who would stay with them through their pregnancy, the birth and would also give a further six weeks of care following the delivery.
NHS North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (NEE CCG) is now working alongside the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation (ESNEFT) Trust to support all the women affected and give them access to community midwifery through Colchester Hospital.
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Lisa Llewelyn, director of nursing and critical quality for NEE CGG, said: "We have worked fast with our fantastic colleagues at Colchester Hospital to transfer the maternity service across, and set up a helpline for any mum who needs advice or information. "With just two days warning, it is a tribute to everyone at the north east Essex CCG and Colchester Hospital for pulling together to provide our local mums with the reassurance and support they need - and immediate access to local maternity services."
Colchester Hospital will take over the care of the women affected with immediate effect.
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A Colchester woman whose first baby was born at home with the help of One to One Midwives said the chances of having her next baby at home had disappeared.
The mother-of-one, who is 25 weeks pregnant and wished not to be named, said the service the firm's midwives provided was excellent, saying they even came to her baby son's first birthday party.
She said: "This changes all my appointment dates up to the birth and the likelihood of having a home birth now has gone as you need two midwives present.
"The service was incredible, they were always at the end of the phone, 24 hours a day.
"It was also so much more personal, you build a rapport with them - I find with NHS midwives it is difficult to get the same person. That was what made it so relaxing, to have that bond. I had already been assigned the same person I had for my first.
"You felt you were in really good hands."
Catherine Morgan, Director of Nursing and Midwifery said: "Our message to women who have been being cared for by One to One Midwives is please don't worry: our main priority is providing safe ongoing care for you.
"We are working closely with North East Essex CCG to transfer this service smoothly."
Anyone needing information or advice should call 01206 742369.
The telephone line will be staffed from 9am to 5pm until further notice.
For out of hours urgent health concerns or issues - for example waters breaking or if you think you're in labour - call 01206 845240 at any time of the day or night.
That number will take women through to the hospital maternity triage's team of midwives.