Published on: 24 January 2020

NHS organisations involved in maternity care in South Tyneside and Sunderland are seeking mams, dads, grandparents, groups and individuals who would like to get involved in sharing their views on maternity care.

Already big changes have taken place, with the creation of a state-of-the-art Midwifery-Led Birthing Centre at South Tyneside District Hospital, which has welcomed over 100 new babies since opening in August. This new service is in addition to the midwife-led care and consultant-led care located together at Sunderland Royal Hospital, as well as access to home births in both localities. Together, these services help make sure women have choices about how and where they would like to have their babies.

Now there is a further opportunity to help shape and improve services, in particular in the creation of a community maternity hub in South Tyneside, providing more maternity services in response to what mothers have said is important to them.

A Maternity Voices event will take place on Thursday 13 February from 11am to 2pm at Hebburn Central, Glen Street, South Tyneside, NE31 1AB.

Sheila Ford, Head of Midwifery at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are delighted with the response we’ve had from mams and dads since introducing our new model of maternity care, in particular those who have used the new birthing centre in South Tyneside. The positive feedback is really important to our brilliant maternity staff in both hospitals who’ve worked really hard to make the changes such a success.

“We really listened to what local women told us about what was important to them and our maternity teams have used their feedback in the way we have developed our services so far.

“This has included making sure our new birthing centre in South Tyneside provides a calm and relaxing environment and a home away from home experience, welcoming partners to stay overnight in both of our maternity units in South Tyneside and Sunderland and giving local women a choice of home birth, midwife or consultant-led care.

Jeanette Scott, Executive Director of nursing, quality and safety at South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are delighted with the early success of the new birthing centre in South Tyneside and the overwhelming positive feedback from families who have delivered their babies in the new facility.

“A key part of our decision-making was to make sure we worked with the local community to develop the new birthing centre in South Tyneside into a vibrant and self-sustaining maternity hub offering a range of additional activities for example antenatal classes, help to stop smoking, breast-feeding support as well as supporting women with their mental health. This is why we are asking people to get involved and give their views.”

Ann Fox, Executive Director of nursing, quality and safety at Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The new maternity service in place across South Tyneside and Sunderland offers a fantastic range of choices for local women. I would encourage mams and dads across Sunderland who have recent experience of using these services to get involved in this important work. We know our maternity staff already work hard to offer great care but we are always striving to do even better by listening to feedback from those who use our services.”

New mams or dads who have recently had a baby in South Tyneside or Sunderland, grandparents, individuals and community groups who work with new parents or prospective new parents are invited to join the new joint Maternity Voices partnership for both areas.

For parents with children, free crèche facilities provided by Ofsted-registered The CrécheMobile will be available but these must be requested in advance via the on-line registration.

A healthy lunch and refreshments will also be provided.

Free Wi-Fi is available at the venue.

Please book early as crèche places are available on a first-come, first-service basis.

Register for the Maternity Voices event at

Those not able to attend the event can provide their views via a confidential survey being carried out by Northumbria University.

Take part in the survey

Sheila added: “We look forward to hearing from a range of diverse people and groups about their experiences and what is important to them about modern maternity care. By working together we can make things better for mams, babies and families, and provide the best services for our amazing staff to work in.”

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