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 play...watch 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.


  1. Yup, sounds accurate to me! Charlie

  2. So sad to read that things on Mat 5 have not improved since J was born 7 weeks prem in Feb 2007. Breastfeeding support was non-existent then. Support for expressing was limited to giving you a pump and teling you to get on with it. And I wonder why I gave up? Still, at least I've stopped beating myself up about it. Just don't want other mums to go through the same.

  3. Thanks for continuing to write this blog.

    I'm due to have my second baby at Lewisham in December and so far am hoping to use the Birth Centre and happily I've just been referred there.

    However, when my son was born 2 years ago at another London hospital, he had to spend a week in NICU and SCBU and I stayed for a week on the ward. I received fantastic breast-feeding and expressing support and (I believe) as a direct consequence of that support I was able to breast-feed my son for a year and he never needed formula.

    I want to be able to do the same for my second child and obviously hope we won't have problems this time but this post and Clare's bad experience above are making me very worried in case we do end up having to stay on the ward.

    Can you say what is being done to improve the situation? It is awful that some people are getting great support and others none just according to where in London they live and therefore which hospital they are 'allowed' to go to.

  4. Also, 'rudeness of staff' is pretty scary to read about when you know what sort of state you will be in if you do end up on the ward.

    I have heard several horror stories about the post-natal ward from women who have toddlers the same age as mine but was hoping things would have improved in the last 2 years. I guess not :(

  5. ElderberryM: I dearly hope you get the birth experience you plan and I would love to hear about it. My top tip as second timer is to have confidence in yourself to know what you want for the best for you and your baby and if you feel like you are not getting that then ask to speak with the ward manager... The support is there for breastfeeding sadly it doesn't always get through.