First baby born under new Berwick care system

Little Robert Brown is the first baby to be born at Berwick Maternity Unit since the introduction of a new on-call arrangement came into place

Baby Robert Brown, born at Berwick Maternity Unit, with parents Aimee and Russell
Baby Robert Brown, born at Berwick Maternity Unit, with parents Aimee and Russell

As the nation awaits news of a royal baby, a family in the North East are celebrating the very special arrival of their own little treasure.

Little Robert Brown was born at 6.22am yesterday, weighing 7lb 13oz at Berwick Maternity Unit in Northumberland.

He is the first baby to be born at the unit since a new on-call arrangement came into place at the beginning of this month.

Proud parents Aimee Tomlin, 28, and Russell Brown, 34, a security manager, used the new system for the arrival of Robert.

Aimee called midwives at Wansbeck General Hospital just before 5am who quickly alerted the on-call team for Berwick, and within minutes the midwives arrived at the unit.

Aimee, of Berwick, said: “The new on-call system worked very smoothly and I have had fantastic care from the Berwick midwives.

“I felt very reassured to know that the midwives were immediately on hand at the unit and I have had nothing but exceptional care.”

Baby Robert joins brothers, Nathan, six, Llayton, four, and a sister Savannah, two.

Baby Robert Brown born at Berwick Maternity Unit in Northumberland with midwife Caroline Faed
Baby Robert Brown born at Berwick Maternity Unit in Northumberland with midwife Caroline Faed

Mum-of-four Aimee was discharged from Berwick Maternity Unit hours after the birth and will be supported by midwives visiting her at home to provide post-natal care.

Just last month, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust announced that low-risk women were once again able to deliver at the unit, which temporarily stopped the service last August.

The trust ceased deliveries at the unit citing a fall in numbers to just 13 in 2011/12, and a number of safety incidents.

Bosses said midwives were not getting enough opportunities to practice birthing skills.

Two options were put forward, reinstatement of deliveries with an increased number of midwives on a rota basis, or creating a 24/7 on-call system for delivery of care during labour either at home or at a birthing room in Berwick, with in-patient post-natal care for up to six hours.

Campaigners fought for the first option, with a petition by the Save Berwick Maternity Unit group collecting around 5,000 signatures.

Yet the Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) recently decided to introduce the on-call system.

Aimee added: “I was a bit apprehensive about the birth because I have quick labours and I was worried that I’d get to the unit before the midwives, but that didn’t happen.

“It was really important for me to give birth in Berwick because I don’t live far from the unit and I obviously have other kids to look after too.

“The service was brilliant and I’m really relieved that I was able to have my baby in Berwick and didn’t have to travel to Alnwick or Wansbeck.”

The unit is open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 2.30pm at weekends, with a 24/7 on-call service for low-risk women who wish to deliver at the unit or at home.

Women who give birth in the unit will be discharged based upon their clinical need and there will be no overnight discharges unless a new mother wishes to go home and is well enough to do so.

As part of the new model of care, Berwick midwives will continue to work at Wansbeck General Hospital on a rotational basis to ensure they are able to regularly practice their full range of skills and get experience of different types of deliveries.

Mums-to-be in Berwick will also soon be able to benefit from a new birthing pool which is due to be installed in the coming weeks thanks to funding secured by the trust from the Department of Health.

Janice McNichol, head of midwifery at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to welcome little Robert into the world and it is really positive to hear that the new on-call system for Berwick worked so smoothly.

“We are all really pleased that births are again up and running in the town and I know our team of midwives in Berwick look forward to delivering many more babies in the future.”


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