The #MatExpOnTour bus hit Manchester yesterday when eight members of the campaign met up for a cuppa and a chat about maternity services.
There was a community midwife, two health visitors, an antenatal teacher, a doula and three mothers all of whom are involved in various maternity projects. We had connected on Facebook and Twitter and decided to set up a meeting, particularly because a few health visitors are in town for the CPHVA conference.
Since #MatExpOnTour launched for November a few people have asked me when the tour bus is coming to their area. This misunderstands how the campaign works. You are touring with #MatExp whenever you meet up to discuss maternity services. If you want the bus to come to your home town then get some people together and discuss ways in which maternity services can improve. Done that? Then you’ve joined the tour!
We had 2 hours together yesterday and we discussed so many of the recurring #MatExp themes:
- Perinatal mental health
- Evidence based practice
- Approaches to birth
- Working conditions
- The need for compassion
- Leadership and change management
- Hearing the voice of service users
- Informed choice
We learned of new projects in the area and of projects campaign members are keen to set up. We shared our frustrations and our experiences. We made new connections, and I know some of those were continued over a glass of wine or two that very evening!
One of the focus topics for #MatExp this week is collaboration between midwives and health visitors. We talked about what can be done here and what best practice people had come across.
It was agreed that the following can make a difference to how well the teams work together:
- Attendance at each other’s monthly team meetings
- Being open and amenable to contact and queries from different teams
- Making it your business to get to know members of other teams
- Taking opportunities to work together
- If as a health visitor you are working on early intervention, think about how you can involve your local midwives
- Consider involving the midwife in your antenatal HV visit
The group was surprised to hear that the information collected by midwives at booking appointment is not passed on to the health visiting teams – all that is passed on is very basic information rather than the detail that the maternity notes will hold. This is something that could change to ensure smooth handovers and a more holistic approach for families. Location was also mentioned – teams that work well together are often located in the same building, sometimes along with a GP practice.
We talked about the different service levels that health visitors can offer and what those can mean to families in practice. A clear infographic of this information would be of huge benefit to families, midwives and antenatal teachers.
One particular lightbulb moment was when we discussed whether health visitors ever seek to work together with doulas? The HVs and doula in the room were swapping information and I have a few contacts that I am going to pass on as a result of that conversation. Imagine how much families will benefit if their midwives, doulas, antenatal teachers and health visitors know each other and share information.
Connections. Collaborations. Networks. Shared ideas.