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A taste of success: two midwifery units in Lancashire!

Sheena Byrom

Tracey Cooper, Consultant Midwife at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals writes about the developments of their two midwifery units (birth centres), with pride! 

 Baroness Julia Cumberlege 

Baroness Julia Cumberlege 

Baroness Julia Cumberlege, independent chair of the National Maternity Review opened our alongside birth centre at Preston on the 5th August 2015. It was lovely to spend some time with Julia, to discuss the value of midwifery led settings and show how important this is to women and their families. Lots of families came back to both Preston and Chorley midwifery units (birth centres) to spend some time chatting with her and Tom from NHS England.

Chorley freestanding midwifery unit (birth centre) was refurbished in April 2013, following a successful bid for environment funding from the Department of Health. The findings from the Birthplace study and evidence from local service users provided the evidence for the application to be successful, and the funding also enabled the development of a new alongside birth centre at Preston.

 Baroness Cumberlege with staff, including Cathy Atherton, Head of Midwifery 

Baroness Cumberlege with staff, including Cathy Atherton, Head of Midwifery 

The midwives at Lancashire Teaching work in an integrated model between the midwifery units and the community. The intention of this is to provide continuity for midwives, women and their families. The midwives considered different staffing models and chose this way of working, replicating the one at East Lancashire Hospitals Trust, which is very successful. Our midwives are fantastic advocates for promoting physiological birth and woman centred care, I am so proud of them and would like to thank them for their hard work and commitment in making our midwifery led service a great success.

We have had 259 births at Chorley FMU between Apr 2014- end Mar 2015 a 150% increase since being refurbished. 700 births at Preston alongside unit since November 2014. At both units 80% women use water at some point in labour. 60% women birth in water. 75% breastfeeding initiation rate. All babies have optimal cord clamping, unless interventional resuscitation is necessary and all have skin to skin contact immediately at birth. The transfer rate is 20% at Chorley, and 25% for Preston alongside midwifery unit. 

 Royal College of Midwives Award Winners! 'Putting Evidence into Practice' 

Royal College of Midwives Award Winners! 'Putting Evidence into Practice' 

Here's what the midwives say about Chorley freestanding birth centre

If you want to contact Tracey, her email is:

Or via Twitter!