Women, Children & Diagnostics Business Group
6th Floor, Women’s Unit
Stepping Hill Hospital
Tel (0161) 419 5551
The midwives at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust that runs Stepping Hill Hospital want to make sure that you and your baby are well during the coronavirus pandemic, and that you have all the information you need to ensure safe and personal maternity care.
There is currently uncertainty about the effects of the pandemic on our midwifery staffing levels. To address this risk we have made some temporary changes to the way we care for you to minimise face to face contact and reduce the risk posed by the virus. These changes include:
Labour and birth
Although we have already increased our midwifery numbers and have the ability to increase further as required with the use of bank midwives, there will always be uncertainties regarding staffing due to the restrictions placed on us in managing the COVID-19 outbreak.
Added to that is the uncertainty placed on ambulance response times- whilst our colleagues in the ambulance service will always try to get to emergency situations as quickly as possible, it cannot guarantee it will achieve normal response times in the current pandemic.
In view of these increased risks we have taken the decision to temporarily suspend the homebirth service to ensure we keep you and your baby safe. This change has been made with the support of our Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) service user chair and will be reviewed regularly.
We can however still facilitate a low-risk home-from-home experience on our midwifery unit (also known as a birth centre) in our Women’s Unit in a separate building from the main hospital. The birth centre midwives are experts in facilitating birth in our calm and comfortable space. Birth pools and aromatherapy are available on the birth centre. Where possible, labour assessments will be undertaken in the home, and the community midwife will accompany you to the birth centre and undertake your care.
We are truly sorry about this temporary change to our homebirth service and appreciate that you will be disappointed by the decision we have had to make in these difficult circumstances.
We would like to reassure you that you will still be treated with dignity and respect. You will still be able to have a birth partner of your choice during your labour and birth, providing they do not have symptoms of coronavirus.
You will still have all options of pain relief, including epidural; and you will still be able to be mobile, use a birthing ball, a birth pool and adopt the most comfortable position for you while in labour.
If you have coronavirus symptoms
Women who have COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature and continuous cough) will be cared for in a separate part of the maternity unit to women who do not have symptoms. This is to keep everybody who uses our services and our staff as safe as possible. Your midwife will be wearing extra personal protective equipment to look after you.
Please be assured that if further support is needed at any time, a midwife will be available as previously.
We are continually assessing the risks posed by the pandemic, and we will endeavour to return to normal practice as soon as is safe to do so
If you have any questions regarding the content of this letter, please contact your community midwife.
The Maternity Triage Unit will be open as normal if you are worried about yourself or your baby. The number is 0161 419 5551.
If have any other non-urgent concerns, please contact our coronavirus advice line open Monday to Friday 8:30am until 4:30pm. The number is 0161 419 5514.