NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) has launched a new central booking line to encourage women to make an appointment with their midwife as soon as they discover they are pregnant.
It is being implemented in two phases throughout NHSGGC. The telephone number – 0141 347 8422 - is now available in the Glasgow area and is due to be up and running in Clyde in mid June.
The call centre is based at the Southern General Hospital, is part of a national drive to promote the best start for pregnant women and their babies.
All mothers-to-be, even those who have children already, are being urged to book into their local maternity services by the 12th week of their pregnancy.
At this key stage midwives can ensure the best long-term care is being provided for mum and baby by assessing the mother’s health needs and provided support around eating well, exercise, dental care, smoking, drinking and housing.
The first two trimesters following conception are critical, when the foetus is most vulnerable to damage caused by tobacco, drugs and alcohol, maternal stress and poor nutrition.
Michelle McLauchlan, General Manager, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, said:
“We want to emphasise to women across NHSGGC that they can make their first midwife appointment as soon as they know they are pregnant.
“And earlier booking provides more time for improvement of health behaviours, including reducing smoking cessation rates, substance and alcohol misuse, and increasing breast feeding rates.
“All of this will have a positive impact on long-term public health.”
The move is part of wider changes to provide smoother and quicker access to maternity services and achieve the antenatal Heat improvement Efficiency Access to services and Treat (HEAT) target of at least 80 per cent of women in each of the SIMD quintiles.
When women make a call they will be given an appointment with a named midwife, a scan slot, and an SCI Gateway information request will be sent to the GP with details of the two appointments asking for medical history to be provided in advance of the booking appointment.
As far as possible, women will be offered appointments close to the GP, and their local hospital, to ensure improved continuity of care.
There will be some exceptions, for example if the GP considers that a woman needs to be seen very early or should be seen first by an obstetrician, the usual SCI referral process can be followed.
Leaflets and posters promoting the booking line have been distributed in health and community settings, and are available in different languages.