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Two maternity units will be created outside the borough
THE planned creation of two new maternity centres outside Basingstoke will herald a dramatic change for mums-to-be in the borough.
Bosses at the trust, which runs Basingstoke hospital, are now considering locating much of its maternity service on the new site.
The creation of two co-located maternity centres - one for high-risk pregnancies and those at risk of serious complications and the other for low-risk births - would mean the services offered at Basingstoke hospital would become entirely midwife-led.
The maternity unit at Basingstoke hospital currently provides care to approximately 2,900 women per year. Up to 40 per cent of those women receive more specialist obstetric-led services for complex pregnancies and around 60 per cent have midwife-led care.
Caroline Brunt, associate director of maternity services and women's health at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said women would still get a choice about where to receive treatment.
However, she said she anticipated many of the thousands of women treated yearly across the three hospitals run by the trust would want to go to the new facility, particularly first-time mothers and women with risky pregnancies.
She said: “It really is about the potential for birthing in a state-of-the-art facility from our point of view. Alongside a centre with specialised services would be a new low-risk co-located birthing centre which would provide a range of options for women.”
She said the low-risk centre would include options for women to have water births and would provide a “relaxing atmosphere” for women to give birth in.
Mrs Brunt said she understood concerns about services being moved from Basingstoke, but believed that most women and their families would be happy to travel a short distance to get the best care.
Women with high-risk pregnancies could still be seen in Basingstoke during their pregnancy she said, adding: “The ladies would receive their antenatal care close to home in their GP surgeries, children centres or, wherever the community midwives hold their clinics.
“If the ladies need to see an obstetric consultant, they will see them on the Basingstoke site or the consultants can go out into the localities to see them wherever the clinics are being held.”
Plans involving the maternity centres are still under discussion. The new hospital is scheduled to open in 2015.