Well it's been very busy in my part of the world and the mslc has met three times since my last post. We have also spent a day together training which turned out to be really productive and illuminating. We found out that we have more in common than just a keen interest in birth, babies and feeding! Like, crafts, gardening and growing our own food, foraging for food, keeping chickens and baking.
I think as its been so long since posting I am just going to give a snap shot of where I think we are with maternity services in Lewisham.
Structures: The public health team that support the committee have now transferred to the local authority and are based in the town hall in catford. Hopefully this will make liaising and involving the council a smoother process in the future.
gp's have set up their commissioning arrangements ready for the transfer of purchasing powers and the public health team and hospital are building relationships for how services will be purchased in the future.
It will be interesting to see how that evolves in the next few months.
University Hospital Lewisham: There have been a number of senior staff changes in maternity services and these are all leading to imporvements for both labour ward, and postnatal.... The labour ward will be getting a minor refurbishment this year in particular the two room that are dedicated for 'normal' deliveries. The postnatal ward has had a deep clean and a full review is underway along with plan to refurb the space including the creation of a dedicated feeding/expressing room with all teh resources required to support breastfeeding and proper advice for formula/bottle feeding.
With the birth centre now firmly established there has been a decision to appoint a joint birth centre and labour ward manager (Lynn Bayes)and implement a staff rotation procedure for the birth centre and labour ward. The Committee think this is a great step forward in enabling midwives to promote active, normal birth and active support during labour in both settings. Would love to know what you think?
Engagement: our dedicated volunteers continue to do regular walking the patch visits to the post natal ward and get views of new mums and some dads of their experiences that are used to inform the MSLC and the hospital. I am hoping more of the service user reps are able to do walking the patch visits this year.
The hospital are trialling an electronic tablet questionnaire on the post natal ward their have been some technical issues which are being resolved but these will help with our feedback.
The MSLC has committed to engage with users of maternity services more broadly, given not everyone is able to or wants to engage in the committee on an ongoing basis. I try to do this via the blog and facebook group, and we have conducted 2 very successful focus groups in 2011 with young mums and refugee and asylum seeker mums, which has proved really useful in gathering a broader range of views that informs how we seek to plan and deliver services in the future. In 2012 we plan to meet with dads and lesbian and gay parents in Lewsisham... If you are inetersted in being involved in either session. Do get in touch.
Breastfeeding: Lewisham hospital has been awarded unicef breast feeding friendly status at stage 1 and now has a set period of time to achieve the next step. This is a great step forward for all invloved and big thanks go to Smita Hanciles and Jill Moore and all those involved in the breastfeeding working group of the committee. Smita held a successful event early in Decemeber to help develop the the infant feeding pathway for mums and babies and to discuss plans for breast feeding friendly places across Lewisham and surrounding area. More news to come on this.
The next meeting is the 29 Febuary 2012 and I will do an update on our priorities for 2012 shortly. Please comment and add to the post if you are involved in any of the work mentioned here. Or have recently experienced maternity services in Lewisham... How was it for you?
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