An initiative in Gloucestershire that provides practical and emotional support to families through pregnancy and their children’s early years has caught the interest of Baroness Cumberlege.

The Baroness, who is chairing the National Maternity Review, will visit a Children’s Centre in Gloucester on 24 August to learn more about the integrated Midwifery Partnership Teams, which see midwives, health visitors and children’s centres working more closely together to provide support to families across the county.

A similar service was piloted in Cheltenham four years ago by NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (GHNHSFT).

Families which used this service benefitted from more support with emotional wellbeing, breastfeeding for longer, decreased levels of smoking and support to feel more confident as parents. The service has now been extended to Children’s Centres in Matson, Bartongate, Linden and Cinderford.

Midwives now have fewer families to look after, and by working together with health visitors and Children’s Centres, they can share information and training, and offer a more flexible service and intensive support to families. This can include joint home visits, enhanced antenatal education to support women to have a healthy pregnancy and a normal birth and access to midwifery appointments within the Children’s Centre.

Dr Jeremy Welch, GP and Clinical Lead for Women’s Services at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“This initiative can really help women and families as they can get to know their midwife or health visitor on a more personal level. This helps to build relationships based on trust and confidence, which is particularly beneficial when people need advice or support with emotional matters, or issues such as contraception, domestic abuse, mental health or safeguarding.”

Vivien Mortimore, Head of Midwifery at GHNHSFT said:

“Our midwives are delighted to be part of this integrated team that provides such great support for women and their families in the heart of their communities.”