Maternity app for expectant mums

Mick Ferris

A ground-breaking maternity app that provides women with seven-days-a-week access to secure direct chat and trusted information from registered midwifery staff is now available to women booked to give birth at Basildon, Southend or Mid Essex hospitals.

Called Maternity Direct, it’s the first software of its kind in the UK. The app will allow women to access support during the current pandemic without leaving home.

Set up for non-urgent enquiries, the Maternity Direct app ensures pregnant women have swift access to advice from local midwives without an appointment or even a telephone call. A record of the digital chat is stored in the secure application and on Trust servers.

With up-to-date information and a midwife to hand, women can access non-urgent support and advice when they need it. It can also reduce the need for non-urgent appointments, saving women time while protecting appointments for those women who require closer monitoring.

It was developed by midwives from Basildon and Thurrock Hospital who partnered with software developer Acadiant Limited to create the app. It is now being rolled out at Southend and Mid Essex hospitals this week, across the newly-merged Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, highlighting how this month’s merger of the three hospitals is improving the sharing of innovation and expertise for the benefit of patients.

Since August 2019 more than 5,000 women have used Maternity Direct to ask questions or seek reassurance from midwives at Basildon and Thurrock Hospital. Nearly 80 per cent of women chatting said they would have used another NHS service if the app wasn’t available.

Feedback from women who have already been using it in Basildon has been hugely positive.

One local woman who used the app during her pregnancy said: “I was approached to test the app at an antenatal clinic. I always used Facebook for non-urgent queries and, as midwives are very busy, I didn’t always get an instant reply. This app is much better, really easy to access and the chat feature is a great way to connect quickly with my midwife. I recommend this app to all mums-to-be.”

Chief nursing officer Diane Sarkar said: “This truly is a fantastic innovation which supports women throughout their pregnancy, not only providing a more streamlined service to them but also improving the delivery of care by staff.

“Hospital and Acadiant staff have worked so hard developing this app, so it is fantastic to see such positive feedback.”

Pregnant mums choosing their care at Basildon, Southend or Mid Essex hospitals will need to fill in a maternity self-referral form before they are given access to the app:

Mick Ferris

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