Maternity project wins national health award

Members of the Northumbria Healthcare team with the award.
Members of the Northumbria Healthcare team with the award.

A maternity project has won a prestigious national award.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s birth reflection service has received the compassionate patient care award at the HSJ Awards.

The service allows women in Northumberland and North Tyneside to reflect on their birth experiences and to receive specialist psychological support where needed.

Award judges said the service was a ‘truly worthy winner’.

Lainey Fraser, service lead in maternity and gynaecology health psychology at the Trust, said: “We’re delighted that our maternity project has been recognised on a national stage.

“A new arrival is a special time for families however, all too often, a negative birthing experience can tarnish that and form beliefs that can detrimentally affect women in the months and years ahead and, in particular, during a subsequent pregnancy.

“This has been a true partnership approach with women who had given birth in our birthing centre at The Northumbria hospital, midwives, patient experience and health psychology working together.

“We’d like to thank everyone involved in this multi-strand project, especially the women who contributed to the development of the service and whose input has enabled it to become a much-valued resource.”

To create the service, more than 100 members of midwifery staff received training from the maternity health psychology service to improve the assessment and detection of birth trauma.

Focus groups were run so that there was a patient voice throughout the design and development of the service – this was a key part of the project.

The feedback from women using the service has been 100 per cent positive with one saying it ‘allowed me to move forward and enjoy being a mummy’ and another ‘brilliant, put a reassuring full stop to my birth’.

Women can self-refer to the service and choose if they want to receive a midwifery-led birth reflection consultation, have a conversation with a psychologist, or both.

Overall, Northumbria Healthcare was shortlisted for seven HSJ awards with its programme to drive forward improvements for patients having hip and knee replacement surgery across 30 trusts highly commended.