A last minute agreement between Bradley Stoke Town Council and North Bristol NHS Trust should mean that weekly midwife classes are able to continue in the town for the next three years but mums with young babies will in future have to travel out of town to access baby clinics run by health visitors.
The town council has been providing free accommodation for both classes for the last two years after the NHS said it could no longer afford to pay for room hire but that arrangement was due to end this April after councillors decided they wished to terminate the subsidy agreement, claiming that Bradley Stoke taxpayers were being “asked to pay twice for the same service”.
A compromise has now been reached in which the midwife classes will move from the Brook Way Activity Centre to the Baileys Court Activity Centre, with the NHS paying a reduced rate of £7.60/hour to hire a room for a weekly two hour session over 48 weeks of the year.
However, no agreement was reached on accommodation for the baby clinics, so new mums will now have to travel to Little Stoke Community Hall or The Stokes Children’s Centre (also in Little Stoke) to access this service.
Natasha Swinscoe, General Manager of the Directorate of Women’s & Children’s Health at North Bristol NHS Trust, explained:
“We have decided that we do not need any space in Baileys Court for the heath visitor (HV) team. We have used the opportunity presented by the move from Brook Way to review how our HV teams function and have re-designed them in order to provide more co-location of teams in certain other of our bases. This affords better opportunities for cross cover and communication between teams so has been a beneficial move. We will continue to provide access to the residents of Bradley Stoke to the full range of HV services.”
An NHS spokesperson added that having health visitors based in a children’s centre “is actually a really positive move, especially for those families that use it for other things”, and is consistent with the organisation’s Children’s Community Health Partnership (CCHP) model of working with other children’s agencies.
He added that Bradley Stoke Town Council had been “very helpful” in finding alternative accommodation for the midwives.
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