New pregnancy assessment unit opens its doors at Northumberland hospital – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

The new Pregnancy Assessment Unit (PAU) at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital at Cramlington has recently opened its doors.

The larger unit and its more spacious waiting area featuring improved patient facilities provide a comfortable environment for those coming in for outpatient appointments.

The creation of an extra assessment room, a bespoke scan room and an additional quiet room for consultations means increased capacity and, in turn, reduced waiting times.

The move also means a separation of inpatient and outpatient activity, which has a number of benefits.

It has increased the postnatal bed capacity by two, while allowing the service to develop and expand – with a focus on the trust’s transitional care offer, for babies who need a little more nursing care and monitoring, and the triage process for babies who may need additional support.

There will also be a reduced footfall in the postnatal area, resulting in improved infant security, while ensuring that the postnatal ward is reserved for inpatients and their visitors only.

At the same time, there is easy access to the birthing centre, which is not far away from the PAU on the same floor.

Jenna Wall, Northumbria Healthcare’s head of midwifery, said: “Our goal is always to provide the best quality care for our patients and we believe the opening of the PAU will lead to better patient experience for both outpatients using the new unit and inpatients through the enhancements we will be able to make to our service.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on maternity care, as it has with all specialties, and I would like to thank the whole staff team for their ongoing hard work. I hope the new unit is another means of making it easier for them to provide great care, which in turns allows new parents to focus on what matters.”

An event to mark the opening of the unit took place on Tuesday, 21 June, involving staff and patients who were using the service. The ribbon-cutting was carried out by Rae Lowe, chair of the Northumbria Maternity Voices Partnership, which works with the trust’s maternity team to make sure that the services provided are what pregnant people and their families actually want.

Jenna added: “We were delighted with our results in the latest national maternity survey earlier this year, which highlighted in particular how much patients valued our postnatal care.

“However, we pledged not to rest on our laurels and this new unit, which provides such a range of benefits for patients and staff, is an example of how focused the trust is on ensuring that our maternity care is as patient-centred as possible.”

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