Friarage maternity unit celebrates first birthday with parents and babies

Parents and babies who have used the Friarage in the past year
Parents and babies who have used the Friarage in the past year

Northallerton’s Friarage maternity centre welcomed parents and their babies as it celebrates its first anniversary as a midwife-led unit.

Around 256 children have been born at the clinic in the past year, and couples have access to en-suite rooms with overnight accommodation. Many families who have used the unit returned to be reunited with midwives at the celebration.

Staff handed out special baby vests for the occasion, which were modelled by two newborns who arrived at the unit last week, Elizabeth Lunn and Max Rowell. The centre now provides midwifery care for women with non-complicated pregnancies.

“This was a special birthday for us and we wanted to share it with the local community as there are still people who think we’re not here anymore,” said midwife and centre manager Deborah Hebblethwaite.

“I read a lovely comment on Facebook this week from a lady who chose to have her second baby at the Friarage and simply said she felt so lucky to have the team look after them. It just says it all really – we have a great team, providing great care at a very special time for families.”

Women with high-risk pregnancies can still receive outpatient antenatal care and advice from a consultant at the Friarage, but would be booked in to deliver their baby in an obstetric unit with facilities for complex births.

Among the VIP visitors at the birthday celebration was Baroness Julia Cumberledge, who is the independent chair of a major review of the NHS’s maternity services.

“We want to make sure that maternity care in England is the best it can be. We have to start by listening to women and their families. I want the individual experiences of ordinary people to form the backbone of our review.”