Friday, 10 December 2010

Snow Joke....he he he... jingle bells

Well this is likely to be my last post for 2010 and its a shame to say that the last meeting of the year was postponed due to my international gallivanting (California no less to visit dear beloved family) and then cancelled due to the SNOW...did you miss it? I do hope not...

So there is not a lot to report but I do have some bits and bobs:

At the last meeting there was some discussion about breast feeding and expressing support in the special care unit for babies at UHL.... I reported back the committee's concerns at the UHL Labour Ward forum meeting and the consultant for the ward kindly gave me a tour of the unit and discussed the plans for refurbishment which it dearly needs as provision for breast feeding and expressing is inadequate and very unpleasant. However, the plans and budget are yet to be approved. I would imagine in this age of austerity it is not a certainty that the Unit will get the face lift it really needs. One interesting comment from both the ward manager and consultant was that they used to have glider/rocking chairs for breast feeding but they had to be removed for infection control. They seem uncertain about being able to get chairs that will meet the requirements so if anyone reading this blog knows a way around this let me know... or maybe its a case of UHL's procurement peeps being more imaginative and creative! I am sure they must exist.

I would like to thank all of those who have been involved in the committee over the last year: especially those who make the meeting happen, those who attend, and those of you who check out the blog and feed in your comments and finally those of you committed to developing the midwifery services and practice in Lewisham to improve families birth experiences.

I hope to work with you all more during 2011.

Happy Christmas. x

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Delegation is the Word - MSLC Meeting 21 September 2010

Well life has been busy in the Phillips household (stressing about primary schools, drowning in Ofsted reports, and wondering if I will have a job to return to as redundancy looms) which has led to a delay in getting this post written and now my memory of the meeting is getting hazy so please be patient with me...........

With 10 agenda items and 2 hours it was a tight squeeze....
Key actions from the meeting included:

A forum event for seldom heard mums experiences of Lewisham's maternity services will be planned for early 2010, led by the PCT with support from UHL and 3 of the Service User reps hopefully the first of many.

Appointed a new Service User rep to UHL's Labour Ward Forum meeting.... Thank you Caroline and Jessica.

'Walking the Patch' (involves service user reps becoming volunteers at the hospital and conducting some qualitative interviews with women on Mat ward 5 and reporting back to the hospital and MSLC) Currently we have one walking the patcher (Gaela) but a few of the Service User reps are keen to participate and now have the contacts they need to proceed.

Update on the birth centre - around 210 births at the date of the meeting, feedback is being collated and is in general very positive.

However, news from Mat ward 5 was less than positive, a recent walking the patch feedback and other anecdotal feedback suggests low staff morale, rudeness of staff and a lack of support with breastfeeding and expressing. In the case of breastfeeding and expressing this was the reported in more than one instance in recent weeks for mums with babies in special care, where they were not supported and enabled to breastfeed their babies and express breast milk. One mum was told that the ward did not have breast pumps and she would have to arrange her own. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. On the up side UHL has just recruited 30 new midwives to the Trust who are in the process of being orientated in to UHL's practices. The new Patient Information Booklet is about to go to print (I hope) and should be available soon.

The MSLC will be amending the terms of reference for the committee to review the membership of the committee if they have missed 3 or more meetings they will be contacted to ensure a replacement in the case of a professional and allow a space for another service user to attend.

Changes in the NHS - The NHS White Paper 2010, sets out radical changes for the structures of the NHS over the coming years but does not talk about what will happen with MSLC's though the Government says we are still important... so where will that leave us? Not sure. We will be contacting other MSLC's in SE London to put forward some ideas of where MSLC's might sit in the future and the roles we can this space.

Finally, the committee now has some permanent administration support (Welcome Vannette) and hopefully this will mean I will have the minutes and other bits and bobs posted on this blog shortly with some techie help from Jessica.

Hope this covers most of the major points.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The Audit of UHL Supervisor of midwives Sept 2010

Well it has been a quiet month or two as everyone has there summer breaks but it is full steam ahead now... with one training afternoon and MSLC meeting already planned for September I was not expecting to have anything else to do .... but then an email arrived from UHL inviting me to attend the audit of supervisor midwives at Lewisham contucted by LSA (The Local Supervisory Authority of midwives) "never heard of 'em" I hear you cry ... well me to. They provide statutory supervision of midwifery and more information can be found here.

The morning began with a presentation from Lewisham's supervisor midwives talking about specific areas of study being undertaken at the hospital such as an audit of perineal tearing, and study on vaginal birth after a C - section (VBAC) along with updating the auditors on recent changes like the new birth unit and key areas for improvement. The Auditors led by Jess from the LSA and three other supervisor midwives from other hospital trusts then took a look at the evidence against the following 5 standards.

1. Supervisors of Midwives are available to offer guidance and support to women accessing a midwifery service that is evidnece based in the provision of women centered care.

2. Supervisors of midwives are directly accountable to the Local Supervising Authority for all matters relating to statutory supervision of midwives and a local framework exists to support the statutory function.

3. Supervisors of Midwives provide professional leadership and nurture potential leaders.

4. Supervisors of Midwives are approachable and accessible to midwives to support them in their practice.

5. Supervisors of Midwives support midwives in providing a safe environment for the practice of evidence based midwifery.

Well you will be pleased to know that UHL Supervisors of Midwives met all five of the standards there were a few recommendations and couple of areas of concern for Lewisham's Supervisor Midwives to take action on. As the 'service user' for the day I was sent off with one of teh auditors to chat to women in the waiting room in Women's health and went up to mat ward 5 to find out from women themselves about how they had accessed midwifery services, via the GP or the direct access services, whether they had been given a choice about where they birth, choice of hospital, home, birth centre, and whether they had a positive experience of midwifery or not and if they had heard of supervisors of midwives ... he he he... no one had funnily enough. But in each area of the hospital visited there were posters up. Generally the women had accessed midwifery through the GP, only one had felt like she had been given a choic of where she gave birth. The Lady we spoke to on Mat ward 5 who had just given birth the day before reported a positive experience.

After chatting with the women, I shadowed the auditors for the rest of the day ... took another tour of the birth centre this time with all its finishing touches in place and yes it still looks wonderful but seeing it after being up to Anderson (labour ward) you can really feel the difference in atmosphere, comfort and sense of space and calm. The birth centre had 68 births in August so numbers are on the up. Unfortunatley the two friends I hoped would get the luxury of the birth centre had babies with other plans... which is always the way with this baby making business.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Lewisham People's Day 10 July 2010

Well what a scorcher it was, especially inside Lewisham's NHS tent. The tent was huge 3 times what I was expecting with representation from lots of different parts for Lewisham's health services all the staff were waering the most lovely bright orange t shirts (most fetching). The maternity table was all set up when I arrived with all bits and bobs to promote the Direct access to midwives service and the new Midwife led unit I took along a bit of information about the MSLC with an opportunity for people to leave their information.

Mostly visitors wanted to know if they could get their blood pressure checked (No) and to get their hands on the funky highlighter pens. I was hoping Novelette and Michelle (the midwives staffing the stall) could demonstrate the service with a live birth but sadly it wasn't to be.

A big plus of us being there on the day was the opportunity to meet with other health services and meet the head of engagement at community health whom the committee could do lots with to improve our enagement with those using maternity services in Lewisham to help improve the service. Also met a lovely lady from community mental health who will run talking therapy groups for people with worries and anxiety which could be useful for new mums... Can't find her card though oopps. Just found it Naomi Mwasambili, Community Development Worker at Sth London and Maudsley NHS trust Lewisham psychological therapies service.

Caroline, Jessica, Daniela please comment and add your experiences of the day. It was a start what can we do next year to make it better?

Sunday, 20 June 2010

15 June 2010 - an evening meeting

Our first evening meeting allowing saw two new service user reps attend and a GP for the first time. Think we will look to mixing up the meeting times next year in the hope it proves as successful.

I still haven't figured out how to attach minutes and agenda's but will do my best in the blog to give a picture of key actions and progress from the meetings and give you opportunities to comment or get involved.

So big news is of course that the new birthing centre is now OPEN and has had 51 births to date they have 60 births booked in and are averaging 2-3 births a day and have had 7 transfers up to the labour ward.

Service user feedback from the little green cards given out on discharge and in all the waiting rooms from April show an increase in positive feedback... most unhappiness is generally about staff attitude rather than clinical care. However all the 'service users' (mums) at the meeting said the forms need to be singled out as only one of us had recently seen one and completed it and that was because she knew to look for it... As I left the meeting which was held in women's health at the hospital I located the green cards on the far wall of the waiting room and put some on all the tables and handed them to couple's waiting. One of our first time attendees also gave some really useful feedback on the waiting room for labour ward a few simple things to make spending any time there easier for pregnant women waiting. Like water, something nice to look at and some regular communication about when they will be seen and how long the wait could be... Oh yes and some feedback comment cards.

Engagement - Yes we will do something for Lewisham People's day, promote the birth unit, promote direct access service , promote the MSLC and promote feedback.

The MSLC will arrange a facilitated forum in October 2010 to enable women and possibly dads who wouldn't traditionally get involved in meetings. We may use people's day to get a steer on where to focus.

I reported on starting this blog and a facebook group which is gaining numbers and includes some Lewisham midwives and hopefully will become another way for us to help involve peeps and improve Lewisham' maternity services.

We have also fixed the date for all of us to have training from the NCT to help us get the best out of our committee and working together.

The other biggeee is we discussed the idea of merging the maternity matters steering group with the MSLC to reduce duplication and it will lead to increased involvement of service users in commissioning decisions for maternity services in the future. It is still early days and would need sign off from the PCT board. But could be a very interesting if challenging development for the MSLC. So watch this space..

Other news is there is a new womens mental health worker based at Lewisham (can't remember the correct title) and women on mat ward 5 and being seen at the perineal clinic can now self refer to physiotherapy.

Think that's it well its 10:45 on a Sunday evening and I am beat after a long weekend with alone with the two tiddliwinks.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Breastfeeding (boobies)

As a sub-group of the MSLC is the Lewisham Breast Feeding group... I thought as chair of the MSLC I should check out one of their meetings... So this sunny Wednesday I strolled (sorry walked briskly) through Mountsfield and Ladywell Park to accompanied by Alex and birds twittering. My destination Ladywell Children's Centre a hidden gem let me tell you... What a lovely space but I wonder if anyone knows its there.. so well hidden?

The meeting is a much smaller group of peeps all working in Lewisham to promote, enable and support breastfeeding and birth and continued beyond 6-8 weeks. It was lovely to see Hazel who gave the breastfeeding talk during my antenatal classes and who I turned to for support when my first was four months old and Gill who is supporting mothers on the ward and training Lewisham's midwives. UHL and Lewisham PCT is working towards achieving Unicef breastfeeding status, busily training midwives, maternity support workers and health visitors, developing policies and practice that will take us forward in achieving the goal..... One thing I learnt from this meeting is that UHL and community health services are merging into one trust. Which means I think that Health visitors and midwives will be working for one organisation which should help provide a 'seamless service'....Well that's the hope!

However, health visitors in lewisham are down to 50% staffing capacity at the moment making everything a challenge for the team. The uncertainity over furture government funding for Children's Centres is also inhibiting ability to make too many decisions at the moment.

Other news is that Lewisham hospital will soon be offering a tongue tie clinic on the 3rd Weds of the month.

Overall a useful and interesting meeting .... especially learning that Lewisham has fairly high breastfeeding rates but supporting women to exclusively breastfeed to 6 months and beyond is an ongoing challenge. The first 6-8 weeks of breastfeeding for a mother is the crucial and often toughest time for women and this is where support is and should be targeted. For more information on Lewisham's support for breastfeeding take a look here.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

27 April 2010 - I am melting!

Hello there, so chaired my second meeting today and the room was so hot I thought we might all melt into a puddle. It was a quiet meeting which means I managed to get us finished early. Key outcomes from the meeting include:

That efforts will be made to support the 11 peer breastfeeding supporters trained in one of the Children's Centre even without funding for co-ordinator.

The new information booklet for maternity services in Lewisham is now at the final stages. The maternity matters booklet about the new Midwife led unit is published and in circulation. Information about pelvic floor and bladder exercises should also be avaliable and links will be made with Phsiotherapy...Also information should be easily available on UHL website shortly.

Service user reimbursement - Information provided to each service user attending and should be emailed to existing members. Service users to attend 3 meetings before committing to the committee... he he.

The PCT will look at options to support a GP to attend meetings by providing locum cover at their surgery... Hopefully will have a GP present at the next meeting...

Engagement: This was a last minute AOB slipped in by me asking if the MSLC could have a presecence at Lewisham People's day .... hopefully this is achievable and we should do something jointly with the hospital... so ideas and volunteers needed.

So dates for the diary meetings for the rest of 2010:

15th June 6pm - 8 pm (giving Service users working full - time the chance to attend at least one meeting of the year)

14th September 12 - 4 pm The MSLC Training session for all members of the committee with lunch (fingers crossed!)

21st September 2 - 4 pm

16th November 2 - 4 pm

All dates TBC subject to venues being booked...

Thursday, 15 April 2010

No.3 - A proper tour of the new unit at Lewisham

So we all had our proper tour of the new unit due to open on the 10 May (The opening has been put back due to the elections)... We were expecting a quick walk around but were greeted with balloons, cake and drinks and goody bags for those of us with bumps.

Oh and the art selected the day before was all up on the walls...along with the specially commissioned wooden sculptures for each of the rooms. The beds, sofa's, TV's and other finishing touches are still to go in but the birthing stalls, ropes, balls and pools all look cool... and made some of us feel envious of the women who will get to birth actively in this space. Seriously made me think about having Number three... eeek.

The first year of the unit will be an exciting challenge for all the staff and supporters and hopefully the ethos of the MLU will rub of on Labour Ward just upstairs... and rumour has it that Labour Ward will get a well needed facelift shortly. Will be great to hear from women using the new unit on this blog!!!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

The new midwife led unit : a piece of art

So in my role as chair I get to do some fun stuff like help pick out the art for the new midwife led birthing unit at Lewisham hospital .... Only for the corridors... This was fun and challenging try to pick stuff with a broad appeal and things that go together... we ended up going for a watery theme as a lot of the pictures chosen has the sea, lakes and rivers featured... trying to create a sense of calm and peace and encourage those wome in labour to take the plunge, maybe!

Will have a full tour of the unit tomorrow with my other service user colleagues.. can't wait... almost makes me want to go for number 3!!!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

My first meeting as Chair 16.02.2010

Always a good start I arrive to find the Creche workers have arrived. Yay. Settle my boy in with Creche and go meet up with everyone a quick chat and then we begin. I am a little nervous and am playing catch up as I missed the last meeting (with the very good excuse of having given birth the day before). My biggest challenge is keeping us all to time.. with too much to discuss.
Key points from the meeting:
Discussion on the feedback from the survey conducted in 2009 of women who gave birth under Lewisham in summer 2009.
The timetable and plans for the opening of the new midwife led unit for Lewisham.
post natal support for women whilst in Hospital and on discharge, particularly mental health support.
How the committee can broaden its engagement with women using the service.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Spring 2010 Lewisham NCT Broodsheet Article

Getting involved – Broodsheet Newsletter Spring 2010

I had my daughter Lucy in July 2007, let’s just say the birth didn’t go anywhere near to what I had planned (a calm home birth ideally in the pool, ha!) there was meconium in my waters which meant going to hospital and a 24 hour stay after my daughter arrived. I had a very mixed experience during this labour between staff being helpful and supportive and some being rude, borderline aggressive and giving incorrect advice. Once I had recovered and settled into family life with my daughter I spoke to a few women who had also had a bad experience at Lewisham. Health visitors and midwifes I came into contact with also seemed to be aware that many women had negative things to say… A couple of people had mentioned there was a committee set up to look to improve Lewisham’s maternity services that was looking for ‘service users’ to be involved. Then at a NCT meeting volunteers where asked for to attend this meeting… I volunteered.
I have been attending the meetings of Lewisham’s Maternity Services Liaison Committee (MSLC) for a year or so now. The committee involves the primary care trust, Lewisham hospital midwifery, community midwifery and the local authority children’s services commissioning team among others. There are a lot of professionals round the table with the power to make change happen along with women who have experienced the services offered by Lewisham the committees aims are to:
•Ensure the information available to women is in a clear format and easily accessible
•To ensure feedback is collected and reviewed effectively and used to inform the development of services and changes in practice
•To inform the planning and purchasing of maternity and related services
•To support the work of Lewisham hospital and the councils to achieve UNICEF baby friendly status.
During the time I have been on the MSLC I have seen the feedback left by women using the maternity services improve dramatically, everyone involved in the MSLC is committed to improving and listening to those using the service… Look for your feedback cards and complete them. We do look at them and use the information given to review and change services.
I have just had my second baby a boy Alexander…at Lewisham hospital (I guess I am just not destined for a home birth) and I can say it was wholly positive experience. I am also the new chair of the MSLC. So if you want to know more about our work or get involved you can email me.

Aims and objectives

The committee involves the primary care trust, Lewisham hospital midwifery, community midwifery and the local authority children’s services commissioning team among others. There are a lot of professionals round the table with the power to make change happen along with women who have experienced the services offered by Lewisham the committees aims are to:

  • Ensure the information available to women is in a clear format and easily accessible

  • To ensure feedback is collected and reviewed effectively and used to inform the development of services and changes in practice

  • To support the work of Lewisham hospital and the councils to achieve UNICEF baby friendly status.

  • MSLC Aims and Objectives


I guess I should point out that the views expressed in my posts are my own opinions and wont necessarily reflect the views of the whole MSLC.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

In the beginning: an introduction to this blog

Hello readers

I am Penny mum of two. Both babies born at Lewisham hospital in 2007 and 2009. As a result of my first birth experience I wanted to provide feedback on the maternity services so got in touch with Lewisham's Maternity Services Liaison Committee and have been a service user rep for around a year. Recently the chair stood down and as I have just embarked on a second round of maternity leave I put myself forward to take the reins.

The committee has a really large brief and lots it wants to achieve with limited people and time resources available. We are made up of service users (women who have had recent experience of Lewisham's Maternity services) and representatives of all the services involved in providing maternity services in the borough. One of the things we have been endeavouring to do is create a website for the MSLC but so far have not managed to get it together... So I had a brain wave... I could start a blog about my work involved as chair of the committee and slowly build up some knowledge and information about the committee's work ... Other committee members can add to the content and women in Lewisham can make contact with the committee via this blog feeding in their views. Hopefully it will be informative and the start of a discussion with women and possible men in Lewisham about maternity services with those providing those services... and maybe an amusing look at bureaucracy in action!