A TELEPHONE service for women in labour was the winner of the Health and Care Award.

The Labour Line started as a six-month trial at Basingstoke hospital, and gave women in labour one number to ring to speak to an experienced midwife.

The trial has since become a permanent fixture across the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which also covers Andover and Winchester as well as Basingstoke.

Receiving the award on the night were Janice Mackenzie, maternity pathway manager, and Caroline Brunt, associate director of midwifery and women’s health.

Mrs Mackenzie told The Gazette: “It was fantastic really – we were quite shocked. It was a real surprise because so many people on the list could have won.”

The scheme started in Basingstoke as a pilot on November 5, 2013, and is now based at South Central Ambulance Service’s call centre in Otterbourne.

Previously women in labour would access triage and advice by telephoning community midwives, the delivery suite or the emergency services. The Labour Line enables women to speak to an experienced midwife, giving a better service for them. and less pressure for other wards and services.

Felicity Edwards, managing director of Destination Basingstoke, said: “There were some amazing entries, I wish they could all win butThe impact of this project on the community and the fact that it is helping to model similar services elsewhere is fantastic.”

The other finalists were Sebastian’s Action Trust, which runs a respite centre in North Waltham, and Dr Keith Thomson. a former anaesthetist at Basingstoke hospital who has volunteered on Mercy Ships to help with medical care in Africa.