Better Births Colloquium

Last week, I was delighted to attend (gatecrash with permission) the Better Births colloquium in London.

The Better Births Initiative was started by the Royal College of Midwives with the aim of…

“…developing service-led and evidence-informed resources to improve and enhance the midwifery contribution to and women’s experience of maternity services in the UK” (RCM)

… and focuses on three key areas:

  1. Promoting normal birth
  2. Increasing continuity of midwifery care for women
  3. Raising awareness of and promoting service design and delivery to reduce inequalities

It was a really fantastic event with a number of midwives from around the United Kingdom attending and sharing examples of the outstanding and innovative practice with which they are involved.

This ranged from caseloading teams for vulnerable families to drop-in groups to elicit women’s feedback, the first stand alone midwife-led unit in Northern Ireland to a hospital who maintains midwives’ competencies by rotating midwives through different clinical areas on a daily basis.  Here’s a few tweets highlighting some of the examples of fabulous midwifery practice in the UK…

Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust have a number of caseloading teams working across south London.  Although they all function in slightly different ways, the impact that it has for women is fantastic:

NHS Ayrshire and Arran have set up a team dedicated to caseloading vulnerable women.  Although there is a considerable emotional investment from the midwives involved, they are well supported and it has helped to promote joined up working with their social worker and health visitor colleagues.  It was amazing to hear how providing midwifery care for women in this way has empowered and given vulnerable women a voice, and has made the most incredible difference in child protection outcomes:

At Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, midwives have developed innovative ways of collecting in depth feedback from women and their families in order to continually improve the service they provide.  Alongside the friends and family test, they are utilising social media to engage with service users and have developed drop in groups which women can attend and provide feedback on the care they received.

There were countless other fantastic presentations, and the day was an excellent pre-cursor to this years’ ‘Better Births’-themed RCM conference.  To end the Better Births colloquium, Soo Downe reminded us of a comment made earlier in the day by Louise Silverton:

“’Making Birth Normal’ is not a campaign – it’s a fact of life”.



Featured photo credit: Don LaVange, Flickr Creative Commons


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