Better Births in the South West

More than 90 people attended our Better Births in the South West event on Tuesday 13th September at Taunton Racecourse. Delegates represented a vast array of stakeholders in maternity care in the South West, including colleagues from local authorities, clinical commissioning groups, public health, maternity service providers, independent midwives, education providers and the community sector, including representatives from Healthwatch England.


Photo credit – Colin Phillips, Nutshell Communications

The focus of the event was to engage stakeholders in the recommendations presented within the Better Births report of the National Maternity Review, as well as determining how we will meet these recommendations as a region.  Chaired by our Clinical Director, Ann Remmers, we were privileged to have Professor Sir Cyril Chantler, Vice Chair of the National Maternity Review, as our keynote speaker, giving an overview of the recommendations contained within the report.


Sir Cyril Chantler – Photo credit – Colin Phillips, Nutshell Communications

Our jam-packed agenda included presentations from Dr Suzanne Tyler of the Royal College of Midwives, addressing the challenges for the maternity workforce; Dr Jo Black, Associate National Clinical Director for Perinatal Mental Health, talking to the vision for perinatal mental health care and Gill Walton, Director of Midwifery at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, who described the experience of being part of the Maternity Choice and Personalisation Pioneer programme. Dr Nigel Acheson, Regional Medical Director, NHS England South, spoke of the NHS England regional approach to the review and the Secretary of State’s pledge for safer maternity care and Amy Warren, Quality Improvement Lead for the South West Maternity and Children’s Clinical Network, presented highlights of the mapping work that had been carried out against the report’s recommendations across the region.

Gill Phillips, of Whose Shoes?™ fame, ran a session on bringing the experience of women to the centre of care, with delegates having animated discussions regarding a variety of situations focussed on the theme of continuity of carer. Gill’s presence encouraged people to get active on social media, especially Twitter, and many delegates tweeted highlights throughout the day.


Gill Phillips – Photo credit – Colin Phillips, Nutshell Communications

The afternoon session, led by Ann Remmers, Network Clinical Director, and Richard Harris, Network Manager, was focussed around how to overcome the issues that had been raised during the mapping exercise in order to meet the recommendations. Groups discussed these in full as well as focussing on their own personal action plans to take away with them. These discussions will shape the next steps of the clinical network in working with stakeholders to meet the recommendations of the report.


Ann Remmers – Photo credit – Colin Phillips, Nutshell Communications

The event was not without its challenges, with thunderstorms causing multiple power cuts and the technical hiccups that ensued and we’re grateful to all those who attended for bearing with us.

Gill Phillips has produced her own summary of the event in the form of a Steller Story which can be found here.