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Share your experiences at our Online Forums

As we will be unable to get out and about across the county to meet with and listen to people for a while, we’re holding some public online forums, and we’d like you to join us. If you are unable to take part but would like to tell us about your experiences of these services, members of the team will be available by phone, text and email (see below) each Wednesday between 3.00pm and 4.00pm to listen, answer any questions and help with providing information about services.

The forums will take place via Zoom. Read our guide on how to use Zoom. If you would like help to set up Zoom on your device please ask.

 

Online Forums – all take place between 2.00pm and 3.00pm

Wednesday 20 May: Dementia Services

Wednesday 27 May: Adult Social Services (to include support to live independently, care homes, learning disability services)

 

Wednesday 3 June: Mental Health Services

Wednesday 10 June: Special Eduction Needs and Disabilities

Wednesday 17 June: Maternity Services

 

Wednesday 1 July: Mental Health Services

Wednesday 8 July: NHS, Health and Social Care Services – any service you’ve used in the last 12 months

Wednesday 15 July: Unpaid Carers and Mental Health Services

 

Wednesday 12 August: Cancer Services

 

If you would like to take part please contact Laura Kane, laurak@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or call 03332 408468.

Parents with new baby

Tell us your story about mental health during pregnancy

We want to know more about you or your partner’s experience of mental health support when planning to get pregnant, during pregnancy, at the birth of your child and afterwards.

Share your views

Did you know?

As many as one in five pregnant women and new mums experience some form of mental health challenge. Partners can also be affected, with one charity estimating that 1 in 3 new dads are concerned about their mental health.

Why we want your views

The NHS is spending more money on maternal mental health support but we want to know if this is making a difference. We want to know whether services are doing everything they can to support people with mental health challenges during or after pregnancy to ensure the whole family is supported. You can help by sharing your experience or encouraging anyone you know who might be affected to complete our short survey.

Take five minutes to share your story – complete the survey. You can also find out more about how Healthwatch plans to tackle mental health over the next few years.

Pregnant woman birth rights

New CQC research reveals lack of awareness over right to choose where to give birth

New research commissioned by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found that more women must be made aware of their right to choose their birth hospital. The research, which surveyed over 1,000 women who had given birth in England in the last three years, found that 40% either weren’t aware or didn’t feel they had a choice about their birth hospital. The CQC is encouraging all expectant parents to understand their right to choose where to give birth and to use CQC inspection reports in order to help make an informed, considered decision.

Heidi Smoult, Deputy Chief Inspector at the CQC explains: “Pregnancy is a very exciting time but it can also be daunting and many women can feel at their most vulnerable. Women have the option to have a hospital, birthing centre or home birth. It’s vital that all women know they have a choice over where they give birth. It’s a big decision and while advice from family and friends can be useful, it’s important that expectant parents know there’s free independent information available to help them. Our inspection reports provide detailed scrutiny of all aspects of maternity care – we urge all prospective parents to do their research to help ensure they have the best possible birth experience.”

The CQC found the top influencing factors effecting where women choose to give birth were the hospital being close to home (65%), followed by hospital cleanliness and safety (55%), a good reputation (39%) and caring staff (36%). CQC inspection reports include detailed information asking these key questions and the research found that of those who did use the inspection reports 95% found them helpful in informing their birth choice decision. The research also found a third (34%) of mums spent less than an hour choosing the type of birth they want and making a birth plan, and 15% didn’t do this at all.

As part of the campaign the CQC also wants new parents to share their experiences of maternity services. Heidi continues: “We really want to hear about women’s real-life experiences as this information supports our monitoring, inspecting and rating of services and helps us provide the most up-to-date and comprehensive picture of the current quality of maternity care being provided at a local level across the country. We urge new parents to help other parents by sharing their experiences with us.”

The CQC is responsible for inspecting all hospitals, including private hospitals, GP practice, dentists, care homes and home care in England. Its maternity service inspections include all services for women that relate to pregnancy, including ante and post-natal services, labour wards, birth centres or units and theatres providing obstetric related surgery.

For more information about the CQC’s campaign and to find out how to share your experiences please visit: www.cqc.org.yk/yourbirthplan

Pregnant woman with nurse

Maternity Services Engagement

During May 2016 Healthwatch Northumberland conducted a number of discussion groups across the county in order to better understand what is most important to women at each stage of their pregnancy and the maternity services they receive.

More and more, women are choosing to deliver their babies in bigger maternity units, such as the Northumbria Specialist Care Hospital in Cramlington and the RVI in Newcastle, which have the full range of services available on one site including obstetricians and other specialists. Over the years the number of women delivering babies in the standalone units like those at Berwick, Alnwick and Hexham hospitals has declined. Some of this is down to choice and some is due to national guidance which means that fewer women now meet the eligibility criteria for delivering in a standalone midwifery-led unit.

With these changes in mind, Northumberland CCG commissioned us to lead 12 discussion groups involving women living across the county who have recently accessed maternity services.

Read the full Maternity Services Report

Events

Maternity services: Join our online forum

As we will be unable to get out and about across the county to meet with and listen to people for a while, we’re holding some public online forums, and we’d like you to join us. If you are unable to take part but would like to tell us about your experiences of these services, Caroline and Lesley will be available by phone, text and email each Wednesday between 3.00pm and 4.00pm to listen, answer any questions and help with providing information about services.

The forums will take place via Zoom. Read our guide on how to use Zoom.

The subject of this online forum is maternity services, so if you’d like to share your experiences of services in the last 12 months, or those of someone close to you, please join us.

If you would like to take part please contact Lesley Tweddell, lesleyt@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or 07803 427 466.

 

Find out about our other online forums