Bromley Maternity Voices: new priorities for 2017

At the start of 2017, I became Chair of Bromley Maternity Voices (formerly MSLC), taking over from NCT antenatal teacher, Laura James, who as Chair for the last 3 years has done a fantastic job of generating goodwill and enthusiasm, facilitating change and raising the profile of the Committee.

To start the new year, and to give me a steer in my new role, we held a Development Day on 18th January. The main purpose of the day was to agree priorities for the year ahead. It was also an opportunity to review the previous year’s progress and to learn about the implications of Better Births, the report of the National Maternity Review. Attendees included mothers, commissioners, senior midwives, a health visitor, doulas and NCT practitioners. We generated ideas and then held a vote through which we agreed the following priorities for 2017:

1) supporting our local maternity services to become Baby Friendly. The Baby Friendly Initiative is a UNICEF accreditation programme designed to support breastfeeding and parent infant relationships. Bromley Healthcare has already made significant progress towards this accreditation, and King’s NHS Trust is also aiming to become Baby Friendly.

2) helping to protect physiological birth by:

  • ensuring that women requesting a caesarian birth on non-medical grounds understand the risks involved and get the support they need to make an informed decision
  • providing better support for couples at home
  • promoting home birth as an option.

3) antenatal education to support women in making informed decisions about their care.

I’m very excited about working with the Committee to take these priorities forward over the next year. There’s lots to do, but we are starting from a strong position, with involvement of senior NHS staff, financial support from Bromley CCG, meeting spaces provided by Bromley Children Project and some truly inspirational service user representatives. I am impressed by how receptive the health professionals are to feedback from service users and by their commitment to continually improving the service they provide.

We’re always looking for new parents to join the committee to ensure our work is informed by recent experience. We’d particularly like to hear from you if you feel that, as a result of your experiences, circumstances or identity, you bring a perspective that may not otherwise be represented. As well as mothers who have given birth in Bromley, we welcome any fathers or non-birth mothers who would like to get involved. To find out more, you can contact me on 07790 032620 or bromleymslc@outlook.com.

This article was first published in First Words, the newsletter of NCT Beckenham and Borders Branch in 2017

 

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