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Direct to Midwife in Greater Manchester – new phone line launched

Every day, around 100 Greater Manchester women find out they are pregnant and they are now being encouraged to go ‘Direct to a Midwife’ as soon as they know they are pregnant. Greater Manchester NHS has launched a new ‘Direct to Midwife’ campaign to let mums-to-be know about their choices and to get their pregnancy care started sooner. To help women get in touch with their local midwives, a Greater Manchester-wide telephone service has been set up on 0800 121 4400. Women contacting this number will be put through to their local midwifery service. The ‘Direct to Midwife’ campaign supports national maternity policy that says women should have the choice of how to access maternity care – either via their local midwifery service or with their GP. It is believed that direct contact with midwives can result in earlier access to health information and screening that can help the health of both mum and baby. We want women to know that they have a choice and can go to their local midwife or their GP and that the earlier they do this the better! Midwives are specially trained to provide care during pregnancy, birth and after the baby is born. Greater Manchester midwives want to hear from all women as soon as they know they are pregnant so we can start to care for you and your baby. Midwives are highly visible health professional within the community. Many are now based in Children's Centres, which makes them easy to access. Pregnancy and birth are normal life events for most women; however women value advice and information early in their pregnancy about lifestyle, nutrition and a plan of care for pregnancy. By seeing a midwife early, women will also benefit from referral to a doctor, if that is required. Mary Rooney, the Royal College of Midwives’ Regional Officer for the North West said in support of the campaign: “The Royal College of Midwives welcomes any initiative that helps women access a midwife and puts them on course for a healthy pregnancy with early advice and support.” Ends Notes 1. Maternity Matters (1997) is the latest national policy on maternity services. http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_073312 2. The Direct to Midwife telephone line is operated 24 hours a day by NHS Direct. It is not an advice line but a line to put women in touch with their local midwifery service. 3. For more information, contact Sue Wallis, Communications Manager, 0161 237 2421 - sue.wallis@northwest.nhs.uk