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.