Cossham Birth Centre recognised at parliamentary awards ceremony

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Cossham Birth Centre has won a prestigious award from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Maternity (APPGM).

The awards acknowledge inspiring or innovative work in improving local maternity services.

North Bristol NHS Trust was a joint winner of the award for best example of involvement of service users in the development and delivery of maternity services for the Cossham Birth Centre development.

Cossham Birth Centre is set to open early next year as Bristol’s first free-standing birth centre providing a home-from-home and family-focused environment. 

The new development on the Cossham Hospital site is a result of public consultation and 10 years of campaigning led by Birth Centre Bristol, a maternity services user organisation.Picture shows midwives from Southmead Hospital and representatives from Birth Centre Bristol campaign group with Andrew Lansley.

Ann Remmers, director of midwifery, North Bristol NHS Trust, said: “We are delighted to receive this award as recognition of the importance of the contribution that our service users have made in the development of Bristol's first free-standing midwife led birth centre.

“From the very beginning women have been at the heart of the planning for Cossham Birth Centre working alongside midwives and managers as we planned for this exciting development.

“And this approach underlines the ethos at Cossham Birth Centre, offering an option for women where birth is a natural and very special life event.”

The APPGM, which is serviced by NCT, the UK’s largest charity for parents, 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 awards were presented at the APPGM summer reception, on Monday 9 July, in the Members Dining Room of the Houses of Parliament by Rt Hon Andrew Lansley MP, Secretary of State for Health.

Speaking at the awards, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “I know as well as any other parent how life changing having a child can be so getting maternity services right is vital.  
"We are committed to improving maternity services across the country.  There are over 900 midwives in the NHS; and 5,000 midwifery students preparing to join the profession over the next few years.  We are committed to giving mothers-to-be the best possible maternity care.”
The reception was attended by more than 150 guests including MPs, officials from the Department of Health, Belinda Phipps, Chief Executive of NCT, representatives from royal colleges and the NHS workforce and leading health professionals and user representatives from maternity services across the UK. 

Services acknowledged by the APPGM included a number that seek to mitigate common high risk factors in pregnancy such as diabetes and obesity, as well as those which tackle issues associated with deprivation.

Dr Dan Poulter MP, Chair of the APPGM and member of the House of Commons Health Select Committee, said: “It is important that high quality frontline NHS work in maternity care is properly recognised, and these awards help to highlight the contributions of a number of healthcare workers to improving women’s care and experience of pregnancy and childbirth.”

Belinda Phipps, Chief Executive of NCT who sponsored the awards with Pampers, said: “These are all excellent examples of what can be achieved through committed staff, focused work and innovation in services, and we hope they will act as an inspiration to other Trusts around the country.”

North Bristol NHS Trust was a joint winner with the 2gether weight management in pregnancy programme at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust.

The APPGM Summer Reception was sponsored by NCT and Pampers. The APPG on Maternity was established in November 2000 to raise the profile of maternity services within Parliament. Over the last nine years, it has hosted meetings on different aspects of maternity services ranging from the Children’s NSF to domestic violence to breastfeeding. The APPG is a cross party committee of MPs and Peers is serviced by the NCT charity.