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Community Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit opens

11/06/2018
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A new community service dedicated to the care of women who experience problems in early pregnancy opens its doors for the first time in Rose Hill Community Centre today (Monday 11 June).

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.

Dr Ingrid Granne, Clinical Director of Gynaecology at Oxford University Hospitals, explains why the EPAU has been moved out of the hospital and into the local community.

She says: "We believe that 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."

Dr David Chapman, Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group's Oxford City clinical lead, adds: "The CCG was delighted to commission this service from OUH, which offers real community-based support to women in early pregnancy. We are very pleased that the new community centre at Rose Hill can be used for such an important service.

"It's a great example of the health and care system working together - commissioners, health providers, a charity and the local authority which runs the building."

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 Community Centre is already home to the Rose Hill, Iffley and Littlemore Neighbourhood Policing Team, Rose Hill and Donnington Advice Centre, Rose Hill Social Club, a community library, gym, and youth and community groups.

Councillor Marie Tidball, Board Member for Supporting Local Communities, says: "I am delighted that the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit is moving into this space. As the first of its kind in Oxford, I am delighted that Rose Hill Community Centre was chosen to be the home for this essential service for mums in their early stages of pregnancy.

"This is another important step in helping to make our flagship community centre a holistic hub supporting the whole community."

Rose Hill EPAU is open Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 6.00pm - there is also an EPAU service on Saturday from 9.00am to 2.00pm in the Women's Centre on the John Radcliffe site.

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 OUH website.

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.

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