Tyne & Wear

Review into future of Berwick maternity service

People protesting against the closure of Berwick maternity unit
Image caption More than 200 people attended a recent protest against the closure

Women in a Northumberland town are to be consulted over the future of the local maternity unit.

The service at Berwick Infirmary was temporarily suspended in August, as a drop in births meant midwives could not practice their skills regularly.

The health trust said this could impact on the safety of "high-risk" births at the midwife-led unit.

An independent company is to carry out a review and seek the views of local women of childbearing age.

The closure on 1 August sparked protests from people concerned that the closest consultant-led unit is Borders General in Scotland, 40 miles (64km) away.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and NHS North of Tyne said the public would have an opportunity to have its voice heard.

Research will take place at on-street locations, such as Berwick market place, as well as at local mother and toddler groups including Sure Start centres and other venues.

An online survey will soon be available, and run until mid-October.

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