Monday, 5 December 2011

What's going on? A review of 2011

Well it's been very busy in my part of the world and the mslc has met three times since my last post. We have also spent a day together training which turned out to be really productive and illuminating. We found out that we have more in common than just a keen interest in birth, babies and feeding! Like, crafts, gardening and growing our own food, foraging for food, keeping chickens and baking.

I think as its been so long since posting I am just going to give a snap shot of where I think we are with maternity services in Lewisham.

Structures: The public health team that support the committee have now transferred to the local authority and are based in the town hall in catford. Hopefully this will make liaising and involving the council a smoother process in the future.

gp's have set up their commissioning arrangements ready for the transfer of purchasing powers and the public health team and hospital are building relationships for how services will be purchased in the future.

It will be interesting to see how that evolves in the next few months.

University Hospital Lewisham: There have been a number of senior staff changes in maternity services and these are all leading to imporvements for both labour ward, and postnatal.... The labour ward will be getting a minor refurbishment this year in particular the two room that are dedicated for 'normal' deliveries. The postnatal ward has had a deep clean and a full review is underway along with plan to refurb the space including the creation of a dedicated feeding/expressing room with all teh resources required to support breastfeeding and proper advice for formula/bottle feeding.

With the birth centre now firmly established there has been a decision to appoint a joint birth centre and labour ward manager (Lynn Bayes)and implement a staff rotation procedure for the birth centre and labour ward. The Committee think this is a great step forward in enabling midwives to promote active, normal birth and active support during labour in both settings. Would love to know what you think?

our dedicated volunteers continue to do regular walking the patch visits to the post natal ward and get views of new mums and some dads of their experiences that are used to inform the MSLC and the hospital. I am hoping more of the service user reps are able to do walking the patch visits this year.

The hospital are trialling an electronic tablet questionnaire on the post natal ward their have been some technical issues which are being resolved but these will help with our feedback.

The MSLC has committed to engage with users of maternity services more broadly, given not everyone is able to or wants to engage in the committee on an ongoing basis. I try to do this via the blog and facebook group, and we have conducted 2 very successful focus groups in 2011 with young mums and refugee and asylum seeker mums, which has proved really useful in gathering a broader range of views that informs how we seek to plan and deliver services in the future. In 2012 we plan to meet with dads and lesbian and gay parents in Lewsisham... If you are inetersted in being involved in either session. Do get in touch.

Breastfeeding: Lewisham hospital has been awarded unicef breast feeding friendly status at stage 1 and now has a set period of time to achieve the next step. This is a great step forward for all invloved and big thanks go to Smita Hanciles and Jill Moore and all those involved in the breastfeeding working group of the committee. Smita held a successful event early in Decemeber to help develop the the infant feeding pathway for mums and babies and to discuss plans for breast feeding friendly places across Lewisham and surrounding area. More news to come on this.

The next meeting is the 29 Febuary 2012 and I will do an update on our priorities for 2012 shortly. Please comment and add to the post if you are involved in any of the work mentioned here. Or have recently experienced maternity services in Lewisham... How was it for you?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, 1 September 2011

HOT HOT HOT...NOT! Overview of August's MSLC meeting 2011

Well August hasn't provided the summer we were all hoping for but never the less August's MSLC meeting was a really productive event and well attended. I like the mixing up of the meetings through the year of the times and venues as it allows for a greater variety of representation at the meetings.

Since my last post, In my role as chair I have achieved;contributed to the draft annual report for the MSLC for 2011 (due to be finalised shortly)
revised and finalised the Terms of Reference for the Committee
produced a new leaflet setting out what the MSLC in Lewsisham does and doesn't do
Set up a new Facebook Group to be found here:!/groups/LewishamMSLC/ become a friend
Met with the interim head of midwifery and matron for Mat ward 5 at UHL.
More on all of these in my update:

Key actions or points from the meeting include:
Update from Lewisham hospital: The matron for Mat ward 5 has been appointed and started in Post - Welcome Sue Chatterley. Carmen Cross is currently acting as the interim Head of Maternity Services whilst Pauline Esson is heading up the project of midwifery normalcy services on labour ward. Lynn Bayes is acting up as head of community midwifery and the birthing centre whilst Shirley Peterson is on Maternity Leave. The hospital has been unable to appoint to the post of matron for the labour ward as yet so this post is still vacant. I think this little para on all the staff changes shows there has been a lot of movements and is still some uncertainity at senior levels in the service in spite of which some key steps have been taken to make some major changes in the way services are provided on mat ward 5.

Sue and Carmen have undertaken a complete review of mat ward 5 including, environmental health, risk, equipement, staffing, procedures, everything really.. and developed an action plan with the support of the hospital's chief executive. I have not seen the report nor has the rest of the committee or the action plan... but can only think this is a positive thing for the staff, women and babies who spend any time on the ward. Sue and Carmen have asked us (the committee) to help with fundraising or seeking donations to make the space on mat 5 more homely and less institutionalised... Ideas welcome? I think this will form some of our meeting time in October.

The patient held records: Lewisham has changed the notes format they have been using for the records for an individuals maternity journey, there are a few criticisms from midwives and women alike about the format and usability of the booklet and Lewisham will be reviewing them, the MSLC service users are keen to support and contribute to the process.

Walking the patch - It has been reported that the walking the patchers have noticed a huge improvement in the reports of staff attitudes on mat 5 generally, along with improvements in the dispensing of pain relief. There was one complicated case that has been reported to the MSLC and will be dealt with as a serious incident by the hospital which means the hospital will do an investigation of procedures to examine what went wrong and prevent in future. The family have been advised to make a formal complaint through PALS aswell to ensure their concerns are addressed. Walking the patchers are collating their feedback and sharing with head of midwifery, the matron, public health and chair of MSLC in order to ensure necessary actions are followed up. This supports a verbal report given on the Ward at the time, and is proving very successful in ensuring actions are addressed.

Walking the patch volunteers will in future be able to use language line in order to conduct interviews with women with little or no English. YAY........

At the committee meeting we had a visitor from King's MSLC who is looking to set up walking the patch at King's... hopefully she got everything she needs to get started. Keep us posted on how it goes.

Direct Access to Midwifery - Remember women in lewisham do not need to access midwifery services through their GP and can contact the midwifery team directly to be booked in for services. There are some procedural issues where there are cases of GP's not always being informed about test results etc. One of the benefits of rotating meeting times a GP was able to attend this meeting and then liase directly with the head of community midwifery to look at resolving issues.

GP Commissioning - Pauline Cross consultant midwife public health is working with the Lewisham's GP commssioning consortia on advising them regarding maternity services.

Engagement - So the MSLC has a had it's usual turnover of service user reps moving on to other things so if you are a mum or dad with recentish experience of Lewisham's maternity services and have some spare time and want to make a positive difference for future families why don't you get in touch and come to a meeting?

Seldom Heard Groups -
We have held a focus group early in the summer with young mums a feedback report will be posted shortly and we are planning a session in October with refugee women.

Health Visitor Implementation Programme - Lewisham is currently preparing its plans in response to the Governments call for action on increasing health visitor support. More on this in the future.

Well I think that's it for now.... comments welcome as always.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Late again! Post for 26 April 2011 meeting

I am just scraping by the seat of my pants with life! So just quickly members of my Weight Watchers groups on a Monday night have lost over 8 stone between them in the last four weeks! Yikes, so very pleased with how that is all going but it is eating in to my time some what... have also been making space in my house by de-cluttering the baby stuff, so its final. I wont be a user of Lewisham's maternity services again!

So what of business I hear you cry! Well the last meeting in April got to grips with the following:
an over view of all the planned and current changes in the health services structures, the PCT is setting up a Business Support Unit to help GP's and the public health staff at the PCT will transfer over to the local authority in the summer (oh it is summer! in the next month or so). The 6 PCT's in SE London have formed a single management board called NHS SE London to support the transition until 2013 at the latest. The GP's consoritia will be concerned with commissioning all services including maternity. They will need to continue to follow national guidance.

We are hoping as a result of these new arrangements that a GP from the consortia will attend teh MSLC in future.

Service User Feedback

Gaela May and Caroline Leek continue to do regular walking the patch visits to Mat Ward 5, Women's experience in general is improving, but still concerns raised about support and kindness of staff working at night. Breastfeeding support also patchy if Jill or Felicia are not available.

Caroline - also attending Labour Ward forum and finds that a constructive way to feedback to a range of professionals involved in maternity services inside the hospital. There are concerns though with the willingness of senior staff on mat 5 to the walking the patch visits. Pauline Esson has agreed to take this up with relevant staff.

Pauline Esson also reported that 2 matrons are being appointed to provide hands on visible support on the labour ward and Mat 5.

Also agreed at meeting that breast feeding peer supporters should be invited into mat 5 on a regular basis to provide additional support to mums on breastfeeding. Pauline Esson will action this.

Exciting news . Stop Press. The MSLC has produced a leaflet setting out who we are and what we do and don't do.. mainly as something for the walking the patch people to give to families they speak with but also useful for anyone wanting to know what we do and don't do and how to get involved. I will post text here when finalised.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

All change: update from 22nd Feb 2011 meeting

Well it is a bit late for a happy new year given it's nearly Easter but the last four months have flown by. I have returned to full time work after a 15 month maternity break so have been struggling to fit everything in...On the side I have also completed my training to be a weight watchers leader and will be starting a new group in May so have had a lot on my plate..... Please forgive me...

Our first meeting of the year was back in February at Ladywell Children's Centre we had fab attendance and three mum's coming as a first meeting to find out how we work and hopefully they found it informative and were able to feed in views... You know who you are so feel free to comment. I really hope this positive and plentiful engagement from local parents continues as it is what it is all about!

So what happened? I hear you cry! Key actions and update points are:

Service User Feedback: We had the survey results for a survey conducted in 2010 of Women who gave birth in February of 2010 - in some areas improvements had occurred but Trust continued to score low on confidence in staff during Labour and on users views of overall care in Labour and birth. Lewisham hospital highlighted this could have been affected by a high use of agency midwives during this period and since then new permanent midwives have been recruited and trained. The score on post-natal care was also poor and changes in staff and improved recording of post natal care should help improve perceptions. The survey will be repeated in May this year looking again at births in February 2011. The MSLC will look at the findings at its last meeting of the year.

Walking the Patch - (Is where on of the MSLC mum reps is an official volunteer at the hospital to conduct Walking the Patch visits) The visits are to the post natal ward (Mat 5) and are an informal and qualitative look at the care and support women are receiving. The walking the patcher will take notes and provide feedback to the ward manager and the MSLC. We have two walking the patch volunteers at the moment Caroline Leek and Gaela May and other reps are looking into completing the necessary steps. It is a useful way for the committee to get a on the ground feedback on women's experiences and use that to inform service delivery.

The key action here was to revise the script and ensure members know the process for becoming a walking the patch volunteer.

The MSLC is looking at hosting some facilitated sub-groups to engage women who are often hidden in user engagement activity and Pauline Cross the PCT's consultant midwife is working with one our mum reps and a contact at the hospital to take this forward.

Service user (mum reps) roles and responsibilities: The MSLC has a breast feeding sub group which needs some new reps on it, Daniela and Georgina will take this on and will update the next MSLC. Caroline and Gaela are walking the patch and Caroline is also attending Labour Ward Forum with Jessica and Daniela there as back up!!!

By the End of April we should also have our very own leaflet setting out who we are and what we do and don't do!!! Yay.

The next meeting is 26 April 2011.

Please do comment on the blog and those of you who make the committee what it is thank you and do add your thoughts..