If you need additional assistance reading our website please use our accessibility tool.


Northumbria maternity project wins national award

Friday, 07 December, 2018
Northumbria maternity project wins national award

A service to enable women in Northumberland and North Tyneside to reflect on their birth experiences and to receive specialist psychological support where needed has won a prestigious national award.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s birth reflection service has received the compassionate patient care award at the HSJ Awards.

For many mothers, the impact of a difficult birth is significant – it can be the source of negative beliefs which prove long-lasting, or be further fuel for a previously-held sense of vulnerability or failure.

At Northumbria Healthcare, a team from maternity, patient experience and health psychology services have developed a pathway to try to reduce this negative impact.

The service allows women to work back through a difficult delivery, receiving psychological support to address any trauma and getting answers to any outstanding maternity questions.

To create the service, more than 100 members of midwifery staff received training from the maternity health psychology service to improve the assessment and detection of birth trauma. Focus groups were run so that there was a patient voice throughout the design and development of the service – this was a key part of the project.

The feedback from women using the service has been 100 per cent positive with one saying it ‘allowed me to move forward and enjoy being a mummy’ and another ‘brilliant, put a reassuring full stop to my birth’.

Award judges said the service was a ‘truly worthy winner’.

Lainey Fraser, service lead in maternity and gynaecology health psychology at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re delighted that our maternity project has been recognised on a national stage.

“A new arrival is a special time for families however, all too often, a negative birthing experience can tarnish that and form beliefs that can detrimentally affect women in the months and years ahead and, in particular, during a subsequent pregnancy.

“This has been a true partnership approach with women who had given birth in our birthing centre at The Northumbria hospital, midwives, patient experience and health psychology working together.

“We’d like to thank everyone involved in this multi-strand project, especially the women who contributed to the development of the service and whose input has enabled it to become a much-valued resource.”

Women can self-refer to the service and choose if they want to receive a midwifery-led birth reflection consultation, have a conversation with a psychologist, or both. Women are also signposted to maternity medical services if this is indicated.

HSJ editor Alastair McLellan said: “Congratulations to all the winners and the finalists. In this historic year for the NHS we were inundated with applications demonstrating continued determination to deliver first-class healthcare, harnessing the latest innovations while ensuring value for money. You have all impressed our judging panel with evidence of your enduring commitment to excellence in healthcare.

“I hope that the HSJ Awards programme will be a source of inspiration for teams across the country as they seek to innovate and improve service provision. This event continues to be the gold standard awards programme in healthcare and I’m confident participating will be a tremendous boost to everyone.”

Overall Northumbria Healthcare was shortlisted for seven HSJ awards with its programme to drive forward improvements for patients having hip and knee replacement surgery across 30 trusts was highly commended. The Quality Improvement in Surgical Teams collaborative (called QIST) is ‘scaling up’ clinical interventions throughout the country.

Media contact:

Jaclyn Curry – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

0191 203 1654 / 07833 046680