Innovative maternity units recognised at awards ceremony

Released on: 28 April 2011

Five outstanding maternity units have been rewarded for their hard work with awards from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Maternity (APPGM).

A further six units were named highly commended at the awards, which acknowledge inspiring or innovative work in improving local maternity services.

The awards were presented at the APPGM summer reception, yesterday, Monday 19 July at the Terrace Pavilion, Houses of Parliament.

The APPGM, which is serviced by the NCT charity, is a cross-party group whose aim is to highlight maternity issues within Parliament and bring together health professionals and service users with politicians. 

The reception hosted by the new Chair of the APPGM, Dr Dan Poulter MP, was attended by 200 guests including Anne Milton MP, Minister for Public Health, Prof. Rona McCandlish from the Department of Health, Belinda Phipps, Chief Executive of the NCT, MPs, Peers, leading health professionals and user representatives from maternity services across the UK.

Dr Dan Poulter MP, Chair of the APPGM, said: “It is a privilege to present these awards to such deserving and exemplary maternity units. The winning units’ innovative work will be an inspiration to other Trusts”

Belinda Phipps, Chief Executive of NCT who are sponsoring the awards said: “We are celebrating the success of these awards as excellent examples of what can be achieved through committed staff, hard work and innovation in services.”

The awards were presented in five different categories, and the winners are as follows:

1. Inclusive services for disadvantaged groups and communities:

Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust - ‘Haamla Service’, St James’s University Hospital
(Maternity service that includes bi-lingual support workers)
The Haamla service is delivered by bi-lingual maternity support workers who compliment the wider team by offering diverse services including befriending, antenatal groups, individual preparation-for-parenthood sessions and home visits, to reach women and their partners in the local community.

‘Haamla’ is an Urdu/Arabic word meaning pregnant woman. The dynamic service aims to provide couples with more confidence and competence in their approach to parenthood and create a support network to reduce isolation. It has good attendance rates and the voices of users are continually heard.

Highly Commended

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust – Community Midwifery Teams, West and East Cumbria; Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle; West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven; Penrith Birth Centre, Penrith
(Service for teenage parents in rural areas)

This Trust uses strategically-placed groups and small satellite units to effectively reach pregnant teenagers across the region. This flexibility ensures that all teenage parents and parents-to-be have access locally to a named midwife with a specialist interest in teenage pregnancy, who can offer advice and support. Satellite services are provided on an ‘as and when’ basis if a pregnant teenager is unable to get to an existing unit, and support can be arranged on a one-to-one basis.

Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - Peterborough Maternity Unit
(Midwifery team for vulnerable women)

This highly-regarded service provides maternity care to disadvantaged women including those in prison, those suffering from addictions, learning difficulties or mental health problems and those experiencing abuse. The midwifery team adopts an honest and open holistic approach to improve the well-being of both mother and baby. Women who misuse substances are not separated from their baby following the birth. Any signs of neonatal abstinence syndrome are monitored, allowing greater bonding between mother and baby.

 2. The Normality of childbirth


Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust – New Cross Hospital
(Model for high risk women in labour)

The team at New Cross Hospital has developed a standardised model of care for high risk women in labour and their partners. This model aims to maximise the opportunity for normal birth and promote a positive birth experience.

The birth environment has been adapted to be conductive to normal birth, with a range of birthing aids including birthing balls and stools. Posters and a short movie have been developed with images of skin to skin contact following a variety of births, including those with intervention, and involving dads if the mother feels unwell or unable to have immediate skin to skin.

Highly Commended

Bradford Foundation Hospitals NHS Trust - Women’s and Newborn Unit
(A skills training day for community midwives)

This skills training day, held in a real life home environment, brings together community midwives and paramedics to focus on ways of supporting women birthing their babies at home and how to deal with unexpected emergencies. It has contributed to a 400% increase in the number of home births in Bradford since 2007 and given women more choice for place of birth, as well as increasing the confidence and skills of community midwives.

3. Responsive, woman-centred, family focused postnatal care


Norfolk & Norwich University NHS Foundation Trust – Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
(Care pathway for end of life care)

This innovative, family-focused service offers a care pathway from a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to home or hospice. It was developed after two families lost babies and another’s baby survived beyond expectations. The unit wanted to ensure excellent palliative care for babies with life-limiting conditions, and a real choice for parents as to how and where their baby would be cared for.

A training package was designed to educate staff about care that can be provided by a hospice and how to use the care pathway to ensure rapid transfer of babies for end of life care. Evidence indicates that quality of life for families is improved when babies are transferred to a hospice or home with this support, and more family members are able to be involved in the final days of the baby’s life.

Highly Commended

Ashford and St Peter’s NHS Trust – St Peter’s Hospital
(Birth reflection service)

Postnatal women are given the opportunity to discuss their pregnancy and birth experience with a specialist midwife counsellor in a safe, confidential environment. The service has been evolving for ten years and is highly valued. It offers women and their families the chance to discuss their feelings sensitively, in a way that supports reflection, understanding and, where necessary, healing. A ‘trigger list’ has been introduced to ensure those who have difficult births are offered support.

4. Tailoring services to meet the needs of fathers


Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - Barnardo’s Teenage Pregnancy Support Team
(Introduction of Young Fathers Worker into Multi Disciplinary Scan Clinic for teenage pregnancy)

The Barnardo’s Teenage Pregnancy Support Team work pro-actively to encourage young fathers-to-be to become involved in all areas of their partners’ pregnancy and birth. They use a holistic approach, providing every expectant father with the opportunity to discuss his needs and feelings with a Young Fathers Worker and other advisors. They are then signposted to community resources such as children’s centres, education, employment and parenting courses.

The team aim to improve young fathers’ confidence and skills, and to involve them in the antenatal period, maximising the well-being of the child whether or not they remain with their partner.

Highly Commended

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust - St Thomas’ Maternity Unit, Teenphase Plus Midwifery Caseload and St Michael's Fellowship
(Service to engage teenage fathers)

This innovative partnership between St Thomas’ teenage pregnancy caseload team and a voluntary organisation strives to engage young fathers throughout pregnancy, birth and beyond. The service provides activities enabling new and expectant fathers to play an active role and works towards raising awareness among young dads and mums of their importance in the family. Intensive one-to-one support is offered to particularly vulnerable families, and signposting to other services provided.

5. Involvement of women in providing local maternity services


Wirral University Teaching Hospital - Women and Children’s Division
(Maternity service redevelopment)

The Women and Children’s Division have completely re-organised the delivery of maternity care at the hospital, including changing how midwives work, the location and timing of services and refurbishment of the ward. The aim is to better meet the needs of the local population by increasing choice and adapting services to the lifestyles of the women who use them.

Pregnant women now have a wider choice of where and when they have their first appointment and scan, and can keep the same midwife throughout their antenatal and postnatal care. The new midwifery-led unit features a home-from-home environment, birthing pool and bereavement suite, while a purpose-built ward allows partners to stay the night. Home birth is also encouraged.

Highly Commended

Stockport NHS Foundation Trust - Stepping Hill Hospital
(‘Talkback’ - A strategic approach to service user involvement)

Stepping Hill Hospital’s strategy aims to forge a strong culture of partnership working between service users, providers and commissioners. They recognised that in order to achieve this they would need to build capacity within their pool of service users. A series of ‘Talkback’ events was planned to involve parents in improving the service.