Changes coming to inpatient care at St Peter’s Hospital

What to expect

Work has commenced to implement these changes during the upcoming autumn season. The transition will begin with a focus on making improvements that will benefit women, birthing people, and their families. Communication regarding these changes and the available birthing options will be facilitated by dedicated midwives. The objective is to make this transition as smooth and seamless as possible for all stakeholders.

Addressing winter demand

The decision to initiate these changes in autumn is strategic, as it allows for ample preparation before the winter season, when the demand for healthcare services typically surges. The broader plan involves developing long-term proposals for maternity services in collaboration with local communities and healthcare professionals. These proposals are expected to be finalised by the end of the year and will serve as the foundation for formal public consultation and decision-making in early 2024.

If local residents would like to be included in any future conversations around the longer-term plans for stroke rehabilitation, intermediate care and maternity services they should email:

Ensuring patient safety

Patient safety is paramount, and we want to reassure all women, birthing people, visitors, and staff using St. Peter's Hospital that safety measures have been diligently implemented. Extensive assessments have been carried out in the outpatient areas of the hospital, confirming that they do not present immediate issues.

Clarifying the scope of changes

It's important to understand that these changes exclusively pertain to inpatient beds. These are the areas where patients require overnight stays or extended periods of care. Maternity outpatient services, including antenatal and postnatal care clinics, educational classes, and diagnostic screenings, will continue to be readily available at St. Peter's Hospital. In parallel, work is being conducted to explore sustainable solutions for stroke rehabilitation, intermediate care, and midwifery-led birthing services.

Home birth options

We would like to confirm that home births remain available in the local area. Our midwife-led homebirth service is a safe and effective choice for individuals with uncomplicated pregnancies. Considering a home birth is a personal decision, and we encourage discussions with your midwife to fully understand the associated risks and benefits, taking into account your unique circumstances and preferences.

Choose your birth location

Our women and birthing people will retain the freedom to select the location for their birth. The midwife-led maternity unit at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford will continue to operate as usual. You can choose to book your birth at the low-risk birth centres located at Broomfield, Southend, or Basildon hospitals. Additionally, if you are booked with Broomfield Hospital, you can also use the William Julien Courtauld Birthing Unit (WJC). Please contact your midwife to discuss your options.

Voice your concerns and seek information

We encourage women and birthing people and their families to contact their midwife regarding additional information or concerns related to direct patient care in the coming autumn and winter. For residents interested in participating in future discussions about long-term plans for stroke rehabilitation, intermediate care, and maternity services, your input is invaluable. Please reach out to us via email at

Continuity of care

If you are considering booking or transferring to the William Julien Courtauld Birthing Unit, you do not need to change your midwife. You can continue to receive antenatal care at St. Peter's Hospital, and in the event of labour, please contact the WJC Birthing Unit to provide you with the necessary information and support to reach the labour ward.

We don't know the exact day when the William Julien Courtauld Birthing Unit will open, but we'll provide you with more information as soon as we have a confirmed date.

Supporting local access

We acknowledge and understand that these changes mean some people will have to travel further to visit loved ones who use these community inpatient or maternity services this winter. We are working with community and voluntary sector partners to identify support for people who may find it difficult to visit relatives and loved ones, and we will provide transportation if possible.

If you have further questions or require additional information, please speak to your midwife. Further information can be found on the Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System website: