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Your spotlight on local services

Children and Families Community Hub – Lowe House Health Centre


This brief is to inform and update you about a key piece of work NHS St Helens CCG has been undertaking with its partners to develop a children and families community hub at Lowe House incorporating a freestanding midwifery-led unit (MLU).


In late 2018, NHS St Helens CCG was successful in a bid with partner organisations to the Cheshire and Merseyside Women’s and Children’s Partnership to open a community hub for women’s and children’s services as part of a pilot for their national early adopter programme.  

Women’s experiences and choices in St Helens were somewhat limited resulting in an Improvement and Assessment Framework (IAF) rating of ‘requires improvement’ which resulted in the CCG undertaking engagement with users of maternity services to look at how these two indicators could be improved.  Though 10% of women wish to give birth at home, the current rate is 1%, with a hospital birth at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (STHK) the only real option for women who do not want a community birth. Though STHK does have a MLU, it is not freestanding and is co-located with the consultant led unit.  

Following the successful bid and approval of funding for the project, work has begun on underutilised space at Lowe House to deliver the hub with a range of services meaning that care can be delivered to women and children in a community setting, away from hospital.

The hub will be the only one in Cheshire and Merseyside to have both a MLU and children’s services co-located, meaning better integrated working across all teams and services, and a better experience for patients.

Services Based at the Hub

Freestanding Midwifery-Led Birthing Unit

This will be based on the ground floor enabling a full community service to be delivered including:

  • All ‘booking in’ appointments (first appointment) for St Helens women from  the north, central and south localities will be at the hub

  • Ultrasound clinics Monday – Saturday 9-5 and an evening clinic

  • Stop smoking, weight management, perinatal mental health support, infant feeding sessions

  • 0-19 Healthy Child programme.

The hub will provide a permanent base for the community midwifery team who do not currently have a base in St Helens.  All women deemed to be low risk women will have all their antenatal appointments at the hub with no need to visit the hospital.  The unit will be open for agreed births at any time staffed by the community midwifery team on an on-call rota, as currently is the case with home births, until demand dictates the need for a permanent team to be based at the MLU.  


New services based in the hub will include:

  • Consultant outpatient appointments 

  • GP with an extended role in Paediatrics

  • Paediatric phlebotomy

  • Children and adolescent mental health services (CAHMS) and Barnado’s

The current provision of clinics already operating out of Lowe House including speech and language therapy, audiology, community paediatricians, paediatric continence service and community dietetics will continue.  Future plans are to include occupational therapy and physiotherapy and as part of the whole service.


Thought it is not feasible to have a number of specialist paediatric services across the four localities in St Helens, the central hub can accommodate this.  This is a unique opportunity to bring together all children’s and maternity services to deliver place based integrated care out of hospital, and provide care closer to home meaning a better experience for staff and patients.


The hub is planned to open in June 2020 with the necessary building reconfiguration work due to start in January 2020.  Prior to opening, a full communications and engagement action plan will be implemented from January 2020 which will encompass current and future service users, staff, current Lowe House tenants and key stakeholders.

If you require any further information, please contact Senior Commissioning Manager, Ann-Marie Barrow: ann-marie.barrow@sthelensccg.nhs.uk or 01744 671103.


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