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20,000 mothers get help from NHS maternity advice line

NHS England now plans to roll out the service trialled in Surrey to other parts of the country

Ingrid Torjesen

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

NHS England has announced that new and expectant mothers across the country will be able to access immediate support through phone advice lines to be rolled out across the country.

Around 20,000 new and expectant mothers in Surrey have benefitted from the Surrey Heartlands Pregnancy Advice Line, which is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. As well as providing quicker and more convenient advice the advice line has also prevented 100 ambulance trips for mothers-to-be who would otherwise have had to go to hospital.

The Surrey phone line was launched last year as part of the NHS England Better Births Early Adopter sites to test a range of new and innovative ways of working to help transform maternity services. Call handlers, based at South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust headquarters, take around 126 calls every day from local residents, with four in five queries answered within one minute.

Trudy Mills, director of Children and Family Health Surrey and Borders Partnership Foundation Trust, said: “We knew maternity units in Surrey were taking huge volumes of calls which had an impact on the quality and time midwives could spend with patients on their wards.

“We innovated by working closely together across the three hospitals to reduce pressure on wards and the ambulance services. Now we have a service mums are delighted with which doesn’t cost more, provides better care and saves the NHS in the long run.”

NHS England now plans to roll out maternity advice lines to other parts of the country

Secretary of state for health and social care, Matt Hancock said: “Through our NHS Long-Term Plan these kinds of innovative maternity advice services – which are already doing so much to reassure and inform new and expectant mothers – will be rolled out across the country so that more families get the help they need at this special time.”

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