"Direct to Midwife service - perhaps someone should tell the midwives"

About: Royal Bolton Hospital / Maternity care

(as a relative),

We recently found out my wife was pregnant and found that there was a service allowing access direct to midwives; a telephone service called 'Direct to Midwife'.

As it was New Years Eve when we found out we tried to use this service rather than wait to see our GP after the holiday periods. We rang the number and spoke to a helpful woman who gave us the direct number for Bolton Midwives (why Bolton can't simply advertise this is a little beyond this). We then duly rang the Bolton number and spoke to someone who had never heard of 'Direct to Midwife' (and took a lot of convincing that I didn't mean NHS direct) - she then said Bolton doesn't work like that and you have to go to your GP - so over 2 weeks later we have now seen the GP and finally have a midwife appointment at the end of the 10th week of pregnancy. The news story on the trusts website states "Midwives are specially trained to provide care during pregnancy, birth and after the baby is born. Greater Manchester midwives want to hear from all women as soon as they know they are pregnant so we can start to care for you and your baby."

It's a shame the midwives don't seem to be aware of this service.

It will have taken us 5 weeks from discovering we were expecting to first seeing a midwife - I only hope the service improves once we actually see a midwife.

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Responses

Response from NHS Bolton

I wish to apologise that this was your first experience of maternity services in Bolton. The Direct to Midwife campaign which has been in operation for the last few months, is designed to provide a swift and efficient service to women and families as early in pregnancy as possible.

We do encourage women to access their midwife early and the majority of pregnant women in Bolton will have seen their midwife either at their home or in a children's centre by 10 weeks of pregnancy. What should have happened when you telephoned is that your details were passed onto your team of community midwives who would then have contacted you to arrange a consultation.

I want to assure you that the Direct to Midwife process has been reiterated to all staff in the relevant areas to prevent this situation occurring again. I fully understand that there are lots of questions to be asked during those first weeks as well as obtaining information about your pregnancy and birth.

I hope that the rest of your pregnancy runs smoothly and that you feel you are given every opportunity to communicate effectively with everyone involved in providing your care. If I can be of any assistance then I would be happy to help. Please contact me, Cathy Atherton, Interim Head of Midwifery/Consultant Midwife on 01204 390002.

Posted by NHS Bolton on behalf of the Royal Bolton Hospital.

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