Package of measures backed by £12 million investment.
New mums and their babies will receive additional support through a range of measures to transform maternity and neonatal services across Scotland, backed by £12 million.
The new model for neonatal care will be tested in four sites to ensure babies needing the most specialist care get the best start possible, as well as a range of initiatives to give mums and other family members the support they need.
All expectant mums will receive care from a primary midwife, alongside a small team, for their whole maternity journey, and support will be on hand to help parents with babies in neonatal units to provide as much day-to-day care for their new-born as possible.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman visited Crosshouse Hospital in NHS Ayrshire and Arran, which will be one of four units taking part in testing the new neonatal care model. By summer, babies from Crosshouse Hospital needing the most specialist care, will be treated at the Royal Hospital for Children, before returning to their local neonatal unit.
The new model will also be tested between the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy later this year.
Ms Freeman said: “These steps to transform our maternity services will ensure mums, babies and other family members are all supported from pregnancy to birth and after.
“To achieve this, we are looking at community maternity services right through to the care for the most premature babies, where we know outcomes are improved when they are in a unit with a higher throughput of cases and where support services, such as surgery, are nearby.
“We are committed to providing all mums, babies and their families with the highest quality of care according to their needs, backed by this investment of £12 million.”
Professor Hazel Borland, NHS Ayrshire & Arran Nurse Director, said:
“We are delighted to welcome the Cabinet Secretary to Ayrshire Maternity Unit to hear first-hand about the fantastic work which is happening here to implement the ‘Best Start: The 5 Year Forward Plan for Maternity and Neonatal Care in Scotland’.
“Our Maternity and Neonatal Teams are dedicated to providing the best possible care to babies and their mums in the safest and most appropriate environment. A particular focus for us has been striving for continuity of midwife during pregnancy; and implementing transitional care. This change in working aims to keep babies who need a higher level of care and their mums together.
“We are looking forward to working with colleagues in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde as Early Implementers of the neonatal model of care for the future in Scotland described in Best Start.”
The report of the review of maternity and neonatal care in Scotland, The Best Start: A Five Year Forward Plan for Maternity and Neonatal Care was published on 20 January 2017. The report contains 76 recommendations which focus on putting families at the centre of care so that all women, babies and their families get the highest quality of care according to their needs.
In Scotland there are approximately 55,000 births a year. Of these, approximately 6,500 babies a year are admitted to neonatal care. The vast majority of babies (around 4000) need only special care, which is delivered in special care baby units, but also on postnatal wards. A further 1000 need HDU care, and around 1,500 are admitted to neonatal intensive care.
Approximately 110-130 babies are born under 27 weeks gestation in Scotland each year. Around 60% of these babies would need to be moved under the proposed changes, the remaining 40% are already being cared for in the proposed 3 intensive care units.
We estimate testing of the new neonatal model will take about 6-9 months, however further work will inform the timetable.