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These are the best and worst places to give birth in Manchester

A survey from the CQC has revealed the best and worst hospitals to give birth at in Manchester.

Expecting a baby in Manchester?

You might be wondering where your new bundle of joy will be born.

While home births are on the rise, and midwife-led units are opening around the country many parents still opt for a hospital birth.

So, do you just pack your hospital bag and toddle up to the front door of your nearest hospital when you feel the first sign of contractions?

Of course not. 

It is important to feel safe, secure and supported during labour and birth.

Which are the best (and worst) hospitals to give birth at in Manchester

Based on scores from the Quality Care Commission (CQC) maternity survey 2021*.

Best for skin-to-skin contact with baby

The NICE (National Institute for Health & Care Excellence) guidelines recommend skin-to-skin contact with babies soon after birth because this “has been shown to promote the initiation of breastfeeding and protect against the negative effects of mother-baby separation.”

Tameside & Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (Tameside General Hospital)

Tameside General Hospital has both an obstetric unit labour ward and a midwifery-led unit.

It scored 9.36 out of 10 on skin-to-skin contact with the baby in the 2021 Maternity Survey. Thameside also has an overall CQC rating of Good, and its’ maternity services have a CQC rating of Good.

SKIN-TO-SKIN: The best and worst hospitals in Manchester

Data from the Quality Care Commission (CQC) maternity survey 2021

Best for being left alone when worried

Tameside & Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (Tameside General Hospital)

Tameside General Hospital also scored highest in the Manchester area for people giving birth and their partner/companion being left alone during labour at a time that worried them, with a score of 8.27 out of 10 in the survey.

ALONE IN LABOUR: The best and worst hospitals in Manchester

Data from the Quality Care Commission (CQC) maternity survey 2021

Best for involvement in decisions

Royal Albert Edward Infirmary

Royal Albert Edward Infirmary had the highest score for a person’s involvement in decisions about their care during pregnancy, scoring 9.25 out of 10 in the survey.

Though Royal Albert Edward Infirmary has an obstetric unit labour ward, they don’t have a midwifery-led unit.

Royal Albert Edward Infirmary is also rated Good by CQC, both overall and for maternity services.

INVOLVEMENT IN DECISIONS: The best and worst hospitals in Manchester

Data from the Quality Care Commission (CQC) maternity survey 2021

And the worst hospital to give birth at in Manchester

Adding together all three key scores from the CQC maternity survey 2021, Royal Oldham Hospital has the lowest overall score, at 8.31 out of 10.

Though Royal Oldham Hospital’s maternity services have a CQC rating of Good, overall the hospital is rated ‘Requires Improvement’.

BIRTHPLACE DECISIONS: The best and worst hospitals in Manchester

Data from the Quality Care Commission (CQC) maternity survey 2021

Other birth options in Manchester

Of course, anyone preparing to give birth knows that the hospital isn’t the only place you can have your baby these days.

Obstetric unit

According to MyBirthMyChoice, the website providing information about maternity services throughout Greater Manchester and Eastern Cheshire (GMEC), “most women give birth in Obstetric units (OU)”. 

These are the delivery suits provided in a hospital. Though they may be slightly less comfortable and homely than other options, OUs have the advantage of giving you direct access to obstetricians, anaesthetists, neonatologists, and the special care baby unit. 

Births in the OU are still primarily carried out with midwives, and many delivery suites are able to offer the same or similar birth choices as midwife-led units.

Manchester has eight obstetric units.

Alongside Midwifery Unit

An Alongside Midwifery Unit (AMU), also known as a Midwife-Led Unit (MLU), or Birth Centre.

According to MyBirthMyChoice, AMUs are part of a hospital maternity unit, which means that obstetric, neonatal or anaesthetic care is available on-site, should they be required.

Birth centres also have the advantage of being “more comfortable and homely” than an Obstetric Unit (OU) in a hospital.

Manchester has seven AMUs.

Freestanding Midwifery Unit

A Freestanding Midwifery Unit (FMU) is a midwife-led unit which is separate from any hospital.

According to MyBirthMyChoice, this means that FMUs are “more comfortable and homely than a maternity unit in a hospital.”

Because they do not have immediate obstetric, neonatal or anaesthetic care available though, an FMU may not be suitable for higher-risk pregnancies.

Manchester has one FMU at Ingleside.

Home birth

Pregnant people in the UK have a right to give birth at home with the care of a qualified midwife

As with an FMU, opting for a home birth allows you to birth in a comfortable and familiar setting, but has the disadvantage of not having immediate obstetric, neonatal or anaesthetic care available.

Your birth choices in Manchester

  • Tameside General Hospital
    • Birthplace options:
      • Obstetric unit: Labour Ward
      • Alongside midwifery unit: Acorn Midwifery-led unit
      • Home
    • CQC rating:
      • Overall: Good
      • Maternity services: Good
    • CQC maternity survey 2021 scores:
      • Skin to skin contact with baby: 9.36
      • Being left alone when worried: 8.27
      • Involvement in decisions: 8.64
      • Average: 8.76
  • Stepping Hill Hospital
    • Birthplace options:
      • Obstetric unit: Delivery suite at Stepping Hill Hospital
      • Alongside midwifery unit: Co-located birth centre
      • Home
    • CQC rating:
      • Overall: Requires Improvement 
      • Maternity services: Good
    • CQC maternity survey 2021 scores:
      • Skin to skin contact with baby: 9.18
      • Being left alone when worried: 7.85
      • Involvement in decisions: 9.07
      • Average: 8.70
  • Saint Mary’s Hospital 
    • Birthplace options:
      • Obstetric unit: Delivery Suite
      • Alongside midwifery unit: Alongside Birth Centre
      • Home
      • Saint Mary’s Hospital Maternity Services also provides the maternity care at Wythenshawe Hospital and North Manchester General Hospital
    • CQC rating:
      • Overall: Good 
      • Maternity services: Good
    • CQC maternity survey 2021 scores:
      • Skin to skin contact with baby: 9.28
      • Being left alone when worried: 8.01
      • Involvement in decisions: 8.68
      • Average: 8.66
  • Wythenshawe Hospital
    • Birthplace options:
      • Obstetric unit: Delivery Suite
      • Alongside midwifery unit: Alongside Birth Centre
      • Home
    • CQC rating:
      • Overall: Good 
      • Maternity services: Good
    • CQC maternity survey 2021 scores:
      • Skin to skin contact with baby: 9.28
      • Being left alone when worried: 8.01
      • Involvement in decisions: 8.68
      • Average: 8.66
    • Maternity care provided by Saint Mary’s Hospital Maternity Services
  • Royal Albert Edward Infirmary
    • Birthplace options:
      • Obstetric unit: Delivery Suite
      • Home
    • CQC rating:
      • Overall: Good 
      • Maternity services: Good
    • CQC maternity survey 2021 scores:
      • Skin to skin contact with baby: 8.63
      • Being left alone when worried: 7.89
      • Involvement in decisions: 9.25
      • Average: 8.59
  • Royal Bolton Hospital
    • Birthplace options:
    • CQC rating:
      • Overall: Good 
      • Maternity services: Good
    • CQC maternity survey 2021 scores:
      • Skin to skin contact with baby: 9.25
      • Being left alone when worried: 7.91
      • Involvement in decisions: 8.38
      • Average: 8.51
  • Royal Oldham Hospital
    • Birthplace options:
      • Obstetric unit: Labour Ward
      • Alongside midwifery unit: Alongside Birth Centre
      • Home
    • CQC rating:
      • Overall: Requires Improvement  
      • Maternity services: Good
    • CQC maternity survey 2021 scores:
      • Skin to skin contact with baby: 8.54
      • Being left alone when worried: 7.88
      • Involvement in decisions: 8.5
      • Average: 8.31
  • North Manchester General Hospital
    • Birthplace options:
      • Obstetric unit: Labour Ward
      • Alongside midwifery unit: Bluebell Birth Centre
      • Home
    • Not yet inspected by CQC
    • Not part of CQC maternity survey 2021
    • Maternity care provided by Saint Mary’s Hospital Maternity Service

*The CQC maternity survey 2021 did not include North Manchester General Hospital, though there is both a labour ward and a midwife-led birth centre at North Manchester General Hospital, the hospital has not yet been inspected by the CQC, and maternity care at North Manchester General Hospital is provided by Saint Mary’s Hospital Maternity Services.

Featured image photo by Daniel Reche.

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