jm150610_dorsetnhs_444Maternity services at Poole are located on a self-contained site at the St Mary’s Maternity Hospital, located across the road from the main Poole Hospital site.

St Mary’s Maternity Hospital is the centre for all high risk care in east Dorset and is fully equipped to meet the needs of women and babies with complications, as well as women with normal pregnancies and births. Around 5,000 babies are delivered by our maternity staff each year, either at home or within the birth centre and labour ward in the hospital.

The maternity hospital provides a comprehensive service, offering women as much choice as possible in their maternity care. Women can choose to give birth at home, in the Haven Midwifery-Led Birth Centre or in the labour ward.

Midwives at Poole work in a variety of settings. The majority of antenatal and postnatal services are delivered by the community midwifery team at locations based in the community.  There are also opportunities to work as part of the dedicated homebirth team.

The Midwifery Led Haven Birth Centre has a total of five birthing rooms and three of these have pools to facilitate waterbirth. Care on the Birth Centre is managed completely by midwives and incorporates natural birthing techniques and is fully equipped to support normal birth in a home-from-home environment.

The Labour Ward provides care for women with high risk pregnancies and incorporates 2 dedicated obstetric theatres and a two bedded high dependency unit. The Labour Ward also has a birthing pool. Midwives on the Labour Ward develop their skills as a part of a cohesive multidisciplinary team.

The hospital has a 12 bedded antenatal ward with a 32 bedded postnatal ward which incorporates transitional care

All midwives have an annual appraisal, from this they negotiate a personal development plan (PDP) in line with the Knowledge and Skills Framework. The PDP identifies individual learning objectives which are set in the context of personal and professional objectives. As a result of the appraisal and PDP process, training and professional development needs are reviewed  each year  and a plan made to meet these needs using a variety of methods. Learning and development opportunities currently in place are as follows

  • A 12 month preceptor programme for newly qualified midwives
  • Access to a Practice Development Midwife and Clinical Practice Facilitator
  • Live Team Skills Drills
  • Access recognised post-registration qualifications in partnership with Bournemouth University
  • E-learning programmes
  • Post registration opportunities to study at degree, Masters and PhD level
  • Potential to progress through the career structure from Midwife Practitioner to Midwife Team Leader, Matron and Consultant Midwife.


The Maternity department is committed to education and development, and invests in an education team which supports learning and practice development across the department.

For more information contact Sandra Chitty, Head of Midwifery email