Proposals to change the locations of some maternity and neonatal services across Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust could lead to better outcomes for parents-to-be and newborn babies, according to NHS specialists.
The options, which are currently open to consultation, would see up to £900 million invested in hospital services to transform healthcare, including significant investment in Winchester hospital.
The proposals would see new midwife-led birthing units created at Winchester hospital and at a brand-new specialist acute hospital on the current Basingstoke hospital site or near Junction 7 of the M3, in addition to the existing birthing centre at Andover hospital. These would give pregnant women and people more choice about how and where they give birth.
The specialist acute hospital would have a birthing unit led by consultant obstetricians (doctors who specialise in care during pregnancy, labour, and after birth) and a specialist neonatal care unit.
Explaining the need to re-organise the way that maternity services are provided, Miss Avideah Nejad, Consultant in Maternal Fetal Medicine and Clinical Director for Women’s Health Services at the Trust, said: “Bringing doctor-led maternity services onto one site would mean we have consultants on site for more hours than we do at the moment, giving families and babies safer care.
“We considered options that included a specialist obstetrician-led maternity unit at Winchester. However, these services need to be located at a hospital that also provides emergency surgery and critical care, and located alongside a neonatal unit, which would only be provided at our new specialist acute hospital under our proposals.
“Having one neonatal unit, instead of trying to staff two units, would mean we could bring our specialist staff together. It would also mean that the unit would see a high enough number of babies each year to look after those with more serious health problems than we can now. Currently, 100 babies each year have to go to Southampton or Frimley Park hospitals for treatment. Under our proposals, these babies could be looked after closer to their homes and families.
“Importantly, people’s antenatal and postnatal care – before and after giving birth – would continue to be provided where it is now.
“Doctors, midwives, nurses, with patients and the public, have thought long and hard about these proposals to create safe, sustainable maternity services for the future.”
Liz MacLeod, Head of Midwifery at Winchester and Andover hospitals, said: “We’re keen to listen to people’s views on all our proposals, including those around maternity care, and are encouraging as many as possible to take part on our consultation – this is your NHS, please do take the opportunity to have your say.”
Get involved and have your say
Patients, local people, and NHS staff are being encouraged to get involved in the public consultation and give their views on all the proposals, which include:
- building a brand new hospital on the current Basingstoke hospital site or near Junction 7 of the M3 for specialist and emergency care, such as strokes, heart attacks, life and limb threatening injuries, emergency surgery, obstetrician-led maternity care, and a separate children’s emergency department
- significantly investing in Winchester hospital which would focus on planned operations and procedures, and provide a 24/7 doctor-led urgent treatment centre that would see and treat around 60% of the patients who currently go to Winchester A&E, same day emergency care services, and a midwife-led birthing unit
- continuing to provide day-to-day hospital services such as outpatients, diagnostics, and therapy services from both the current main hospital sites, and additionally at the site near to Junction 7 of the M3 if this is chosen as the location for the new hospital.
To find out more, attend an event, or complete the questionnaire, visit www.hampshiretogether.nhs.uk. The consultation is open until midnight on 17 March 2024