Maternity services shortlisted for national award

Friday, 17 January 2014

Maternity services at North Bristol NHS Trust have been shortlisted for a national award.
The trust, which runs maternity services at Southmead and Cossham hospitals, has made it into the finals of the Royal College of Midwives Annual Midwifery Awards for its work to support women who want to give birth in a low risk setting.

The team has been shortlisted from hundreds of entries in the Excellence in Maternity Care category for its Moving Forward project, which set out to give women more choices about where they give birth.
Nationally the majority of women give birth in an obstetric unit – leaving the minority of women using a birth centre or home. The model at North Bristol NHS Trust aims to start reversing the trend by supporting more women to give birth in a lower risk environment.

As well as Bristol’s first freestanding midwife-led birth centre, which opened at Cossham last year, improvements are being made to the birth centre at Southmead Hospital to improve the environment and increase capacity for women who would like to give birth there. The birth centre will provide a relaxed environment with birthing pools, aromatherapy, massage, soft lighting, access to MP3 docking stations and the ability for partners to stay overnight in its three air-conditioned rooms.
Work has also gone in to making the environment of the labour ward more like that of the birth centre, with en-suite bathrooms, a birthing pool, mats and birthing balls.

The focus has been on improving services for all women, including those with complications to improve their opportunities to experience a normal birth.

Director of midwifery at North Bristol NHS Trust, Ann Remmers, and Gina Augarde, birth centre and normal birth lead, made a presentation about the ongoing work to the award judges.
“This is a move forward, looking to the future and responding to what women are asking for,” Gina said.
“We listen to women and service users – that is a really important part of this.”

Ann said: “I am very proud of the maternity team at Southmead. And the changes they are making to improve services for women and their families.
“This work is for the whole of maternity services and we are excited that we have been shortlisted.”

Commenting on the shortlisting of the North Bristol NHS Trust maternity team, Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the RCM, said: “This year we have had a record number of entries for our awards and the standard has been phenomenally high, so I applaud Gina, Ann and their team on reaching this stage, and wish them luck at the awards ceremony .”