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Foundations of Maternity Care: Growing Together Conference, NHS Tayside

Update from Care Opinion Scotland

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About: Angus Health & Social Care Partnership Perth and Kinross Health & Social Care Partnership NHS Tayside

picture of Lisa Dendy

On Friday 1st of June, I had the pleasure of being invited along to a special conference, focussing on maternity care services, staff, projects and developments in NHS Tayside.Image title

Victoria Sullivan (Care Opinion Lead / Patient Liaison Response Co-ordinator / Planning Officer, NHS Tayside) and myself, went along to tell people about Care Opinion and meet some lovely faces. There were plenty of opportunities to learn from each other and share ideas. I could feel the 'buzz' in the air, as midwives, nurses, AHPs and other health professionals excitedly networked and shared support for each other.

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We attended the many sessions involved on the day, and I was amazed at the creativity and developments going on in services, behind the scenes.

Teams of incredibly hard-working and dedicated staff have been identifying gaps in care pathways, or areas where alternative solutions or developments can improve the lives of parents, babies and families. Many of these people have endeavoured to bring in changes and new services, while still working away in their day-to day roles. It was wonderful to see the success of these inspiring people and their hard work.

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For example, a new Birth Reflections service will allow new parents to self-refer to talk about their experience of birth, receiving support and help for trauma if required. We had an insight to how healthcare works in other parts of the world, which is important for looking at overall differences in healthcare access. During this session, we were reminded to take a step back and look to learn from other countries, where things are going well in healthcare practice. We heard about the importance of kindness in workplace culture, and how everyone can look at little ways to harness this value in practice.

There was a focus on collaboration, cross-service support and kindness throughout the day, all of which have shown to benefit staff morale, positive change and of course, improved care for patients and families. 

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It was wonderful to share our Care Opinion stall with Victoria Sullivan from NHS Tayside, and when asked about the event, she told me;

"It was an honour to be invited to be part of the Foundations of Maternity Care: Growing Together Conference in Dundee to promote Care Opinion, and to hear the amazing work going on in this Directorate that is clearly centred around mums and babies and the importance of family. The well-chosen and positive speakers gave us insight into each of their teams, sharing ideas and celebrating the proactive and innovative ways they are keeping their services person-centred. What an inspirational group of people!".

When reflecting on my own experience of the event, I enjoyed all the sessions and found everyone very inspiring! I was particularly interested in a session called 'The voice of the Infant', where we heard from a psychologist about how babies communicate and how this can be helpful for healthcare staff working with them. In March this year, the Scottish government launched a national 'Infant Pledge', which advocates for the voices of babies, and you can read this below:

Infant Pledge

I am one of Scotland's youngest citizens. To give me the best start, so that I can thrive throughout my life, I need to be seen as a person with my own feelings and rights. I depend on adults to interpret my cues and communications so that my rights are upheld, and my voice is heard.

My relationships with the people who care for me are important and directly affect how my brain grows and develops, and how I learn to process and regulate my feelings. Safe and secure relationships and consistent care support my wellbeing now and give me better chances and outcomes in later life too.

Professionals and academics in the field of Infant Mental Health alongside organisations championing the rights and welfare of babies and very young children have come together on my behalf to create the following expectations, which they believe would help improve my life chances.

I expect that I will:

1. Be seen as a person with my own feelings and views.

2. Be seen as able to communicate my feelings and views.

3. Be able to trust my important adults to think carefully about my feelings and views and speak them for me.

4. Be supported to have secure relationships with the adults who care for me.

5. Have safe, interesting places to play and learn, and the help I need to do so.

6. Have my views valued by my family, community, and society.

7. Have a say in decisions about what happens to me.

My important adults will:

8. Have support to be healthy, including before I am born.

9. Have the information they need to make good choices for me.

10. Have the support they need to understand and meet my needs and their own.

11. Have help from people with the right knowledge and skills.

It is everyone's responsibility to:

12. Consider me and my perspective at all levels of decision making.

(Produced by the Voice of the Infant subgroup on behalf of the Scottish Government’s Infant Mental Health Implementation and Advisory Group).

You can read more about the pledge and Best Practice Guidelines here.

Thank you to all the organisers of this event...we hope to join you all again soon!

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