The online survey asks people for their experiences of services from the outset of the COVID pandemic in March 2020 and before.
Heather Johnstone, Together We’re Better Maternity Transformation Programme Director, said: “We need to make sure that the maternity services we are providing are meeting the needs of the local families that use them, so it is important we hear local people’s experiences.
“Some services were temporarily changed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to help keep our staff and families safe. Although COVID-19 restrictions are easing we are still fighting this terrible virus and having to use our midwives differently to cope with higher levels of sickness and self-isolation.”
Changes included the temporary suspension of homes births which were reinstated by the summer. Freestanding Midwife-led Birth Units for low-risk births at County Hospital in Stafford and Samuel Johnson Community Hospital in Lichfield were also temporarily closed so that staff could be concentrated staff at consultant led maternity units. They remain closed.
Heather said: “We are now exploring ways to reinstate these services, but know we will need to work differently. We are considering an on-demand proposal that means the Midwife Led Birth Units would be available 24/7 but not staffed permanently as before. Midwives would attend the unit when a birth is expected.”
COVID-19 has also shown us how we can improve our services for families, and we want to learn from this as we build services for the long-term. Through this survey, we want to hear people’s views about potential ways of working for the future.
Heather added: “We don’t just want to hear from people who have given birth, we want to hear from anyone who has experience of the maternity services including partners, staff, and those providing support for maternity service users.
“We also want to hear about experiences relating to childbirth and antenatal services.”
The launch of the survey comes as Together We’re Better hosted a “sold out” online event on Microsoft Teams that also discussed issues around maternity services.
Heather said: “The feedback we get from the event, the survey and other planned engagement will help us make the next steps towards providing the best maternity services we can and I would stress that no decisions have been made at this point.”
The survey is online until midnight on Sunday August 8.