ICB unveils wide range of community support services for new mums

New mums are to be given additional support during the first few weeks of parenthood, thanks to a host of new initiatives put forward by Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board.

The organisation, which is responsible for planning and buying local healthcare services, outlined its plans for the new community-based support at its Governing Body meeting on Thursday 30 July, where it was met with unanimous approval.

Mums in the region will now benefit from, amongst other things, face-to-face follow-up appointments within the first ten days of giving birth, a dedicated 24-hour telephone helpline and access to online support videos.

Help with newborn feeding techniques will also be available through one-to-one video calls and, where appropriate, in person with a named peer supporter.

The new services are designed to support mums in the environment that is best for them and their baby, which feedback from local families has shown to be the home. 

As well as complimenting a number of already well-established community-based support services, the new initiatives will also ensure no families are left disadvantaged by the permanent closure of postnatal beds at Chippenham Community Hospital.

Prior to coronavirus, and following a lengthy public consultation, a decision was made to close the postnatal beds at Chippenham Community Hospital in the spring of 2021.

However, the closure was temporarily brought forward to May of this year in response to the ongoing pandemic.

Now, following the rapid development of the new community-based support services, the permanent closure can be introduced in a safe and structured way.

Lucy Baker, Director of Service Delivery, said: “While we are of course sad to see the beds close at Chippenham Community Hospital, the move to more community-based postnatal support is something that local mums have told us they would like to see.

“Providing care in the family home, especially at this current time, means mums, dads and babies are looked after in an environment that is personal to them.

“We hope the extra measures being brought in will help new families to feel fully supported during this very special period of their lives.”

Prior to the Governing Body’s decision, a survey of more than 100 local parents showed there to be no concerns from families in the region regarding the revised closure date.

Further information on local maternity services is available online at www.bswicb.nhs.uk and at www.facebook.com/bsw-maternity-voices-partnership.