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Nurses officially open Community Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit

13/07/2018
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A new community service dedicated to the care of women who experience problems in early pregnancy has been officially opened.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's Community Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU) is for women in the early stages of pregnancy who are in pain, bleeding or having other problems which are concerning them.

It is staffed by doctors, nurses and other members of the team who previously provided this service in the Gynaecology Department at the Women's Centre on the John Radcliffe Hospital site.

The Community EPAU, which is based at Rose Hill Community Centre in Oxford, opened its doors to women for the first time on 11 June 2018.

Specialist nurses Tori Heppell and Linda Portman (pictured), who are part of the Community EPAU team, cut a ribbon to officially open the new unit at an event on Friday 6 July in the presence of specially invited guests including the Lord Mayor of Oxford, Cllr Colin Cook.

Jason Dorsett, Chief Finance Officer, who attended the official opening on behalf of the Oxford University Hospitals Trust Board, says: "We would like to thank Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire CCG and Oxford Hospitals Charity for supporting us in opening this fantastic new facility that we hope allows women in early pregnancy to get advice and support without having to come to hospital."

Dr Ingrid Granne, Clinical Director of Gynaecology at Oxford University Hospitals, and Douglas Graham, Chief Executive of Oxford Hospitals Charity, spoke at the event.

Dr Granne says: "By delivering early pregnancy care out in the community in a calm and less medicalised environment, we can support women in a more sensitive way.

"If women are experiencing problems in their pregnancy, which in some cases can sadly lead to a miscarriage, we want to prevent them making unnecessary and potentially upsetting visits to hospital if possible.

"We develop a personalised plan for each woman under our care and, if a woman does need to be transferred to hospital, we will do this in a safe and prompt way."

Oxford Hospitals Charity has helped to ensure this new initiative can happen by equipping the clinic rooms and funding state-of-the-art testing - to give really quick results for conditions such as ectopic pregnancy.

Douglas Graham, Chief Executive of the Charity, explains: "As the charity that supports Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust we are committed to making a difference to patients by funding the latest medical equipment and technology and creating high quality patient environments.

"And so we are delighted to be helping this important new service that brings early pregnancy advice into a local community setting."

Rose Hill EPAU is open Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 6.00pm.

A Saturday clinic in the Women's Centre at the John Radcliffe Hospital will start in September 2018.

Women can refer themselves to the EPAU - after seeking advice from their GP - but they must contact the service first to book an appointment, to ensure it is appropriate to their needs.

Contact details for the service are on the EPAU webpage:

Community Early Assessment Unit (EPAU) at Rose Hill

Women who are bleeding heavily or experiencing a lot of pain are advised to go straight to A&E rather than accessing the EPAU service.

Pictured: Tori Heppell and Linda Portman

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