Update from your Maternity Services – December 2021

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Published: 24 December 2021

As you know every part of the NHS is currently under extreme and sustained pressure. We would like to take this opportunity to reassure you that your Maternity Services are open for business and here to support you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Our priority is always to support you to have a safe and positive pregnancy and birth experience. To do this we need to ensure you have all the information you need to make informed decisions about your care.

It is important you have all the necessary information when making choices about where you want to birth your baby. If, given all the information, you choose to birth at home or within one of the freestanding birth centres, we will continue to support you and provide you with safe and personalised care.

We want to take this opportunity to make you aware that the ambulance service is facing extremely high demand at the moment and, because of this, it is possible response times in the community will be longer than usual. If you choose to give birth in one of our freestanding midwifery birth centres or have a home birth, there may be a chance of a delay if you require ambulance transfer to hospital or if you call an ambulance during your pregnancy. It is important you are aware this could happen. Your midwife will also talk to you about this.

We realise how difficult it is currently, as the COVID-19 Pandemic continues, and we know that information about health options during your pregnancy and birth are essential to you when making choices. To ensure you remain well, we are strongly advising you to get a COVID-19 booster vaccination as soon as possible. There are increased risks to you, your baby and your health, if you should get COVID whilst pregnant, especially if you are not vaccinated. 

According to the latest figures, the number of pregnant women being admitted to hospital with COVID-19 is increasing and many needing care are experiencing serious symptoms.

The latest data from MBRRACE-UK (published December 2021) shows more than 1400 pregnant women were admitted to hospital between May and the end of October this year. One sixth of pregnant women were admitted to intensive care. 96% of whom were unvaccinated. This is a stark reminder that vaccines save lives – and it’s why we’re urging pregnant women to take action to protect themselves and their babies. 

Vaccination is recommended at any stage of pregnancy, so please do not delay. You can book your vaccination online or by calling 119. If you wish to talk to anyone, please contact the trust 24-hour triage line below.

If you become unwell or have any concerns about your health, including your baby’s movements, we advise you to call your maternity triage line as soon as possible for advice. Our midwives are available 24 hours a day. Please do not wait until the situation becomes serious; we want to be able to see you early and ensure you get the care or support you need.

Please contact the hospitals on the following numbers.

  • University Hospitals Plymouth 01752 430200
  • Torbay Hospital 01803 654641/654631
  • North Devon Healthcare Trust 01271 322603
  • Royal Devon & Exeter 01392 406616

Your Community Midwife will discuss your pregnancy and birth plans with you during your appointments.

If you would like to be involved in the Maternity Voices Partnership, please contact:

George Reed – Chair, Devon MVP; george@devonmaternityvoices.org.uk