Dorset Local Maternity System win national award for work to protect vulnerable women and babies

Dorset Local Maternity System – have scooped one of the top midwifery awards Slimming World Award for Partnership Working at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Awards for their project to improve postnatal care for women and their babies as part of the work delivered as one of Seven Early Adopter sites for Better Births.

This award recognises the importance of all members working collaboratively with service users, the multi-disciplinary team, other agencies and stakeholders to enhance the care provided to women and their babies in the postnatal period.  The Early Adopter team is made up of health professionals across three maternity units (Dorset County Hospital, Poole Hospital and The Royal Bournemouth Hospital), one health visiting service (Dorset HealthCare), NHS Dorset CCG and maternity voices, who have been working in partnership to deliver fast tracked changes to maternity care.

Through consultation with whose shoes events and local surveys women reported the feeling of “abandonment “and confusion with health professionals visiting on the same day repeating or contradicting information being given and less focus on the care given in the postnatal period.  In true collaboration a series of design workshops were held out in the community with local families, midwives, health visitors, Maternity Voice representatives and partners to define and shape a new postnatal care model.

The new pathway includes extended discharge at 28 days, development of a Standard Operating Policy for Health Visiting and midwifery, development and use of Maternity Support Workers and new postnatal consultant led clinic.  They developed a system to ensure women got more seamless care between midwives and health visitors.  Workshops were held to ensure the new systems were in place and there were staff training events to ensure all staff were clear about how it would work. Women using the service were involved all the way through the process.

The results were impressive.  Women have reported feeling much more supported and empowered in the postnatal period. There is more consistent care and a seamless move from the midwife to the health visitor. Unnecessary duplication of information has been avoided saving women and staff time.   Communication between midwives and health visitors has also improved significantly.

Belinda Doe, Clinical Lead midwife and Amanda Boclet, Health Visitor Lead represented the team on presentation day and Emma Twine, Clinical Lead midwife collected the award on behalf of the whole team and all our staff working in this new model at the Royal College of Midwives Awards Ceremony in London on 5th March 2019.

Lianne Oldham, Project Manager said: “Well done to the midwifery and health visiting staff and families involved in developing the new model of care and the staff delivering this model in continued partnership with each other.”

Local GP and Deputy Clinical Chair of NHS Dorset CCG Karen Kirkham said “This is a fantastic example of how we in Dorset have improved care for new mums and their babies during this very important time straight after birth, and congratulations to the teams on this award which recognises their commitment to working together to develop services.  Thanks to all the mums in Dorset who helped us with this work- your voice was key to the redesign.”

Carolyn Pallister, Slimming World Public Health Manager, said: “This service is an excellent example of how midwives and health visitors can successfully work together to improve the care of women and their babies. We’re delighted to support this important award; collaboration and partnership working are key in ensuring consistent and seamless care.”