Pregnant women encouraged to refer themselves to maternity services

WOMEN who want to have care provided by Bradford Maternity Services are being encouraged to fill in a new online self-referral form as soon as they discover they are pregnant.

The form aims to immediately put mothers-to-be in direct contact with the maternity team, so their care planning can start as soon as possible.

“The new self-referral form means women don’t have to contact their GP to access maternity care anymore. Instead, they can fill in the online form, which is quick, easy and available 24 hours a day” said Tracey Hall, Personalised Midwifery Care Project Lead at the Women’s and Newborn Unit, based at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI).

“The form gives us all the information we need to start a woman’s pregnancy care planning here at the BRI direct with us and at the push of a button,” added Tracey.

The online self-referral form allows midwives and doctors to view each patient’s contact details alongside their medical, allergy and previous pregnancy information, in one place.

It also includes a section to tick if the woman needs an interpreter to be present at her appointments, so this can be planned in advance to support best care and communication provision.

Self-referral form

To help improve access for all women, IT experts have also ensured that the form’s questions can be changed into different languages using google translate. Some women may need practical help, so a representative, chosen by the woman, can support her to complete the self-referral to make it easier. If women are still having difficulty filling in the form or if they prefer a more face-to-face approach, they use the more traditional method of contacting their GP who will be able to refer them to the BRI for their maternity care.

Every year around 5,500 babies are born at BRI which means that every month, around 500 women contact the midwives to let them know they are pregnant and to begin their pregnancy care with Bradford Maternity Services.

Last week it was announced that a two-year ‘Outstanding Maternity Services (OMS)’ programme has been launched at the unit to transform care and upgrade the BRI’s Maternity Services to outstanding levels, including two new £3.7 million obstetric theatres.

Alison Powell, Midwifery Lead for the OMS programme, said: “It’s really important that when women know they are pregnant that they tell us, we can then plan the appropriate care for and with them, so they can get the care they need. We know that some women, due to underlying health conditions or other needs, may need to be seen early by a specialist or change/start treatment, for example.

“The beauty about this form is that women can fill it in in their own time. We need quite a lot of detail and very often people need space to collate this vital information.

Improve access

“The form will improve access to women from different backgrounds and give everyone access to the very best care. For instance, if a woman is a refugee in a local refuge, she can get her link worker to help her fill in the form so it is accurate.

“We’ve put the self-referral form together in consultation with mums throughout the district as we want to make sure that our improvements are co-designed and fully informed by the women who use our service.

“We will continue to evaluate its use and ask women what they think. If we need to make further changes and improvements we can do that as we see how women use the form.”

For more information about giving birth at Bradford Royal Infirmary, go to:

Click here to access the self-referral form,

You can also follow the maternity team on social media:

Twitter: BTHFT_OMS