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New Sligo Hospital service to enhance postnatal care

“The aim of the service is to provide enhanced postnatal care, early signposting for additional services, breastfeeding support and to reduce postnatal admission,” according to Karlene Kearns, Clinical Midwife Manager 2, Sligo University Hospital (SUH) commenting on a new pilot service recently launched by the Maternity Department.

The new service, which will further enhance midwifery care, will also see the establishment of a community midwifery service, operating as an outreach service from the hospital.  This will provide integrated care as close to home as possible for the mothers and babies.

Postnatal clinic appointments will be offered to all women on day 8 and day 20 after their baby is born. This is in addition to the service currently being provided by GPs and Public Health Nursing.

Women will be invited to attend clinics in Primary Care Centres in Ballyshannon, Carrick on Shannon, Sligo town and Ballymote, depending on where they live. At the time of discharge from the maternity ward, all women will be provided with an appointment to attend the postnatal hub nearest to their home. Each appointment will consist of a consultation with a midwife who will carry out a full mother and baby check. Referrals and follow-up care will be provided as clinically required.

In addition, a midwife is available, Monday to Friday, at designated times, to provide telephone postnatal support to the women.

Karlene added that “the service was created in response to feedback from a patient engagement survey, which revealed that postnatal midwifery care needed to be improved. We were very pleased to be selected as a pilot site by the HSE’s National Women and Infants Health Programme.  We also secured funding for additional resources to support the roll out.”

Juliana Henry, SUH Director of Midwifery, explained that “as an outreach clinical service from the hospital, this service is a fundamental part of the National Maternity Strategy's Model of Care seeking to develop a community midwifery service. It will help us to provide women with integrated care as close to home as is feasible, by collaborating with our Public Health Nursing colleagues and General Practitioners. We will be actively monitoring the success of the pilot and adapting it as required to meet the needs of the women.”

Grainne McCann, Hospital Manager SUH, said she was “delighted to see the launch of this new service which promotes and demonstrates quality, integrated care for women closer to home. This is one of many successful national projects that SUH staff have progressed recently towards our mission of continuous quality improvement for patients.”