A project which has transformed the way mums-to-be in West Sussex can get support, from their midwife and other mothers, has received a prestigious prize.
Midwives from Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s in Chichester were delighted to win the Patient, Carer and Public Engagement award at the KSS Academic Health Science Network Awards in London on 13 January.
Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was a finalist in three categories at the event, which celebrated healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs who have made the most difference to improving patient care in Kent, Surrey and Sussex.
The Listen and Involve Project, a new initiative championed by the Trust’s midwives, was commended for improving access and support available to pregnant women, mothers and their families, particularly for ‘harder to reach groups’.
Dr Cate Bell, Women’s Experience and Clinical Effectiveness Midwife, said: “We are using Facebook groups and new technology to ensure all women, including those who in the past have been less likely to get involved such as younger mums, can access support without fear of discrimination or embarrassment.
“The Facebook pages are run by our midwives, and are just one aspect of our Listen and Involve Project which also includes regular drop-in sessions at Women and Children Centres across West Sussex, as well as our new Twitter account @WSHTMidwives.”
The Facebook groups provide a place online where women can meet other women, to share information and support each other. The Young Parents and Weight Management in Pregnancy groups have been particularly successful because women in these groups can find it more difficult to engage in traditional maternity services, sometimes feeling too anxious to attend face-to-face group sessions.
19 year old Lauren Dennett, who lives with her son McKenzie in Southwick, said: “The Young Parents Facebook group stopped making me feel like I was alone. And once you have given birth you are not then turned away, the help is still there when you need it.”
The benefits of the Listen and Involve Project were explained to an audience of more than 450 people, including NHS England Medical Director Sir Bruce Keogh and representatives from South East Health Technologies Alliance, Kent Surrey Sussex Leadership Academy and South East Coast Strategic Clinical Networks.
Dr Bell added: “We are so proud the many achievements of our project have been recognised and we are absolutely thrilled to have won the Patient, Carer and Public Engagement award sponsored by Strategic Clinical Networks.”
David Clayton-Smith, Chair of the Academic Health Science Network Awards commended Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for its innovative nominations.
He added: “I’d like to congratulate all of the award winners and nominees on the incredible work they are doing to benefit patients every single day. We’ll continue to spread innovation far and wide, and to support clinical teams who are improving the quality of services for patients across Kent, Surrey and Sussex.”
The awards followed the region’s first ever healthcare Expo showcasing the best innovations with the potential to transform patient care..
Report and picture contributed by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.