Birth Voices East Blog
Updates on what we're doing and how your feedback is making a difference
Our next informal feedback event will take place at Bungay Community Library on 7 May. We will be here from 1.30pm to 3.30pm and will also be joined by the James Paget's Women's Experience Midwife - Abby.
This event is for anyone who has given birth at the James Paget in the last five years to give feedback, good or bad. Babies and toddlers are welcome and the library has a great Children's Library and garden and is a very welcoming space.
We hope to see as many as possible of you there and for more information please get in touch via the Birth Voices East facebook page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
We recently took part in a great event at the James Paget, organised by Women’s Experience Midwife, Abby. The event was called Whose Shoes? This was arranged and convened by the group MatExp who have run these events throughout the country.
The aim of the event was to bring together parents, grandparents, midwives, nurses, doctors, community groups to talk about improving care and what can be done to make the maternity experience better. This was done via the medium of a fun board game (non-competitive obviously!) which allowed all participants to have an equal say and contribute their views.
At the end of the event, all the feedback was shared on an amazing piece of artwork and all participants were asked to create a pledge saying what they would do to help improve maternity services.
At Birth Voices East we have pledged to use your feedback to help continue to improve facilities available to mums on ward 11, working with other attendees of Whose Shoes? to achieve this. Watch this space for how you can help us achieve this soon!
We always love to get your feedback and hear your views.
If you’d like to attend a feedback meeting, our next one will be held at 9:45 – 11:15 am on Wednesday 6 March at Kirkley Children’s Centre.
We look forward to seeing some of you there, but if you can’t attend and want to give feedback then this can be done via our Facebook page or by emailing email@example.com.
As you may remember, we recently asked parents to complete a wellbeing survey – looking at mental health and the health visiting service in the first 12 months after a baby is born.
We shared that one key point raised by a number of women responding to the survey was that they didn’t feel comfortable in asking for support at weigh in clinics.
This was often due to some clinics being held in public spaces. We felt that a good way to help with this would be to produce a poster showing where women could access advice in public or private. The poster also gives women information on how they can contact health visitors privately to discuss any issues they may not feel comfortable with talking about publicly.
The poster is below and is also going to be shared on our Facebook page. We hope that it is useful!
Hello and a big thank you for reading my first ever blog post. My name is Nicola and as the newly elected Vice Chair, I thought now was a fitting time to introduce myself. Raised all over the UK, I settled in Norfolk just over 6 years ago. I now live in Oulton with my Husband and six month old daughter Florence. Although currently on maternity leave, my usual day job is project management in the construction industry and I will return to this later in the year.
Following the birth of my daughter in January, I decided to get involved with the group as I felt that I could help represent the local community in regards to giving feedback on pre and post-natal services and also use my work based skills to deliver future projects.
I am really excited to get started and use your feedback to make our maternity services as best as they can be. I also can’t wait to work alongside the James Paget team who do fantastic job day in day out.
We are always looking for new mums (or dads) to get involved. This can be as a user rep; attending occasional meetings and sharing experiences, as a volunteer; helping Katherine and I with our huge to do lists, or just by completing our survey or getting in touch with feedback.
Finally, I would like to mirror Katherine’s comments in her last blog and offer a big thank you to our previous Vice Chair Gemma and all the work she has done over the past few years. I’ve certainly got big shoes to fill!
Hopefully I will see some of you at our next meeting in September (date to be confirmed).
Sadly, our Vice-Chair, Gemma has now stepped down from the role due to work commitments.
I'd like to express a big thanks to Gemma for all the hard work she has put into making Birth Voices East a success and for representing so well the views of women in Waveney and the Great Yarmouth area.
We held our most recent meeting last week at Kirkley Children’s Centre, and I'm pleased to announce that we have elected a new Vice Chair, Nicola who I'd like to extend a big welcome to! The meeting was very productive and we shared a lot of feedback both from our feedback surveys and from mums who attended the meeting and have recently given birth at the JPUH. We shared this feedback with Abby, Women’s Experience Midwife, who responded to feedback and shared ideas for improvement.
We also discussed the results of our recent focus topic survey looking at the postnatal care of mums and babies after leaving hospital. The majority of results from the survey were positive but one result that stood out was that 37% of women felt uncomfortable asking for help and advice at weighing and advice sessions. It has been suggested that the public nature of some of these sessions may put women off asking for help so we are going to create a poster giving details of all weighing and advice clinics in Waveney and Great Yarmouth.
More action is being taken as a result of feedback from you - in response to comments made by those completing our maternity care survey and feedback from mums received at debriefs, Abby, myself and Lorraine (a student midwife at JPUH) have drafted an article about ward 11 (the ward where women stay before and after giving birth). This will explain what happens on this ward, provide information about staff member roles and also to show women pictures of the ward so they can familiarise themselves with it before going into hospital. Once finalised, this article will be shared on this website, on our Facebook page, at the antenatal clinic and on the ward itself.
As always, we really appreciate your general feedback about your experiences of maternity care, it would be great if you could fill out our maternity care survey.
Or, if you'd like to get in touch with us directly you can do so by emailing mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or via our Facebook page.
We're recruiting! I will (Gemma) be stepping down as vice-chair at the June meeting in two weeks time, to focus on going back to work.
We held our most recent meeting in March at the Seagulls Children’s Centre and yet again we had a good attendance and a new mum attending, we also had feedback from other mums who weren’t able to attend which was really helpful.
We welcomed the James Paget’s new Women’s Experience Midwife, Abby to her first meeting. Abby is making changes already to improve women’s experience. She has been sharing positive feedback with teams received from debriefings as well as looking at what can be improved.
We discussed our current focus topic – looking at the postnatal care of mums and babies after leaving hospital.
We have now opened a survey to get your feedback about this topic – if you would like to complete the survey it can be found here. We will be keeping this survey open for the next month or so, and will be discussing the results and looking to see if any changes can be made at our next meeting.
We also discussed the new Local Maternity System (LMS), we are hoping to hold a series of engagement events in the next 12 months. We will provide more details about this when we have it.
As always, we really appreciate your general feedback about your experiences of maternity care, it would be great if you could fill out our maternity care survey
We have taken feedback on community midwives from our maternity care survey and used it to create two posters which you can see below. This feedback has been shared with our midwives and is a great way to thank them for the work they do with expectant and new mums!
Our next meeting will be held on Monday 18th June at 12pm, at Kirkley Children’s Centre in Lowestoft. Babies and toddlers are welcome and we look forward to seeing you there!
Hi my name's Amy and I'm six weeks old. I've spent the last 9 months testing out maternity services in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area.
My Mummy set up Birth Voices East a few years ago, as she was unhappy with her care when my sister was born.
My mission since last May has been to help Mummy test out current maternity care. I have taken this job very seriously and decided to develop a few complications along the way, to make sure we tested out (nearly) the full range of services!
Overall, Mummy and I have been really impressed with the level of care we received all the way through pregnancy, labour and postnatally. Mummy said it has made such a difference to how she feels - both physically and emotionally - compared to last time. Even though this time she had more medical intervention, she feels at peace with everything that happened because of great communication and caring staff, which made her trust the people looking after her and feel in safe hands throughout.
Of course, not everything was perfect, so we will be passing on a few suggestions about some aspects that didn't meet expectations or where there is further potential for improvement, such as:
Mummy also acknowledges that being a second-time mum really helped, and that's partly why staff members listened to her more and respected what she had to say. This really brings home how important it is to make sure first time mums always have that emotional support and trust in the staff looking after them. So Mummy is going to keep pushing to make sure this happens (check out the new survey on postnatal wellbeing!).
In particular, we would like to thank:
We would also like thank Jayne Utting and the senior midwifery team at JPUH, who have worked to make improvements in the last couple of years, including increasing staffing levels and in particular recruiting permanent staff instead of using agency workers. Also we would like to thank all the Birth Voices East volunteer mums, and all the local parents that have contributed their feedback and thoughts - each and every one has played a role in improving local care.
While its great that our experience was so much more positive this time round, I was only one of around 2000 babies born each year at JPUH. So to make your voice count, and help Birth Voices East to continue to make a difference, please fill out our anonymous online survey on maternity care (and/or this one on health visiting and other support services)
You can also 'like' our facebook page to keep up to date with what's happening and future listening events and meetings, or email us at BirthVoicesEast@yahoo.co.uk to get involved. Even if you only have a few hours to spare it could help, as we have lots planned for 2018, including:
Amy and her Mummy (Gemma)
Hello, I’d like to introduce myself – my name is Katherine and I’m delighted to say that I’ve recently been elected as the new Chair of Birth Voices East ‘Maternity Voices Partnership’ (MVP). I work part time for a local authority and am mum to a very lively 15 month old son! I wanted to join the group as I used the services offered by the James Paget, midwives and health visiting services extensively during my pregnancy and afterwards and I wanted to help other mums give feedback on services and help to continue to improve the services offered. Whilst I had a mostly positive experience, I feel having a platform for mums to give feedback and help shape services is vital and so I wanted to get involved with the MVP. I especially want to focus on getting feedback from more women, especially those who may find it difficult to access services for different reasons.
I want say thank you to our out-going Chair Jodie for doing such a brilliant job and also give a big thank our Vice-Chair Gemma for all the wonderful work she has done and continues to do, and for all the support she has given me since I joined the group. I look forward to working closely with her in the future!
We are always looking for feedback from mums (and dads!) and ideas for future focus topics. Please feel free to message me via our Facebook page with any ideas!
Our last meeting in December had a great attendance, and it was great to see mums and little ones come along! We discussed our new focus topic – looking at the postnatal care of mums and babies after leaving hospital. We felt the most useful way to get feedback will be through a survey, which we can then take the results of and work with our partners to look at the potential for realistic changes. At the meeting we received lots of suggestions for questions to ask mums in the survey, which should be published on the website by the end of January, so watch this space!
We also discussed the new Local Maternity System (LMS), a plan for maternity services in the Norfolk and Waveney area. This is still being put together and input from mums will be vital to create the LMS. We are hoping to have more details on this by early February and will be asking for mums for feedback and to participate in creating the LMS. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for more information!
As always, we really appreciate your feedback about your experiences of maternity care, it would be great if you could fill out our maternity care survey and please feel free to get in touch with any other feedback!
Hi everyone, sorry we've been so quiet recently - not enough hours in the day (or volunteers)!
Firstly, I would like to thank Jodie, who resigned as chair last meeting to focus on her growing bump and family, for all the great work she has done to make sure local women and families have a say in improving maternity care locally. She has really made a difference, especially on breastfeeding issues, and she also organised a feedback event with translation to make sure women with limited English can still have a say on their maternity care. Jodie plans to remain an active member despite no longer being our chairperson though so I'm sure we haven't heard the last of her :)
On the upside, after a major recruitment drive, I am pleased to announced we will be welcoming a new chair, Katherine, at our next meeting on December 6th! We were also delighted to welcome four new ladies in September, who all gave really useful feedback to us and senior maternity staff.
The next meeting is at Kirkley Childrens Centre, Wednesday 6th December at 12.30-2.30 and we would love to see some more new faces, either if you're interested in getting involved or just want to find out more or pass on some constructive feedback. It's pretty informal, and I hope welcoming - the babies/toddlers play in the middle of the room and we sit round with tea and cake trying to hold an adult conversation :) Our focus topic for the next few months is postnatal care of mum and baby after leaving hospital, so we are particularly interested in hearing about your experiences of health visiting services, and maternal mental healthcare (such as postnatal depression).
I'll be personally testing out the Central Delivery Suite and Ward 11 maternity care myself in Jan or Feb, to make sure the thousands of comments and suggestions (both positive and negative) that we have passed on since 2015 have been listened to :) Honestly, the lengths I go to in this role!
We are keeping our 'Birth Voices East' name, but we are re-branding to a 'Maternity Voices Partnership' (MVP) in line with all our sister groups across the UK, from the previous mouthful of 'Maternity Services Liaison Committee'. Much easier to say! It doesn't change what we do though. The name change is part of a nationwide NHS effort to increase the role of service-user feedback in shaping maternity care. We work closely with our neighbours from Norfolk & Norwich, and West Suffolk, as well further afield, to share ideas on how to make a difference. To find out more about MVPs, see nationalmaternityvoices.org.uk.
As always, do get in touch if you have any questions or suggestions, and don't forget to fill out our maternity care survey if you have recently had a baby or are undergoing maternity care!
All the best,
Gemma (vice chair)