Recommended by the 2016 Better Births Paper,they are independent advisory NHS working group created to listen to people who have recently used maternity services. All areas are to have one, we now have two in our area, one for Hull and one for the East Riding. All the feedback they gather is anonymous, summarised and fed back to the right teams.
As well as being ‘Mrs Mumbler’, I have been very privileged to be asked to Chair the Hull Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) and, along with my along with my Co-Chair Melissa from Hull & East Yorkshire Home Birth Group, we aim to offer plenty of opportunities for local parents to have their say on maternity services.
From pre conception right through to your baby turning one, we want to know what was good, what was not good and ideas for change. This includes services and care provided by; GPs, Health Visitors, Infant Feeding Teams, Midwives, Peri-natal Mental Health, Lets Talk, Childrens’ Centres, Home Start, Doulas, Breastfeeding Support etc. By sharing this you help shape maternity care in your area.
Hull Maternity Voices Partnership has existed for over a year now, covering those accessing services within the Hull boundary, and has already helped to make improvements to local care. East Riding MVP launched at the end of 2019 and covers all East Riding postcodes, from Goole through to Bridlington.
An example of what’s been done through the MVP is the new policy to allow partners to stay over at Hull Royal’s Women & Children’s Hospital. This was something that had affected me personally; I had delivered both of my babies at around 5am and my husband was only allowed to stay with me for a short time before having to leave and not come back until visiting hours. As a new mum I felt devastated to be left on my own without his support. We conducted a lot of research with other new mums who also said it would improve their experience if partners could stay. As an MVP we fed all this back to the Midwifery team and the Trust and they changed their policy to allow partners to stay all the time.
I went back to Hull Royal to meet a few new mums on the ward recently and their partners were with them. They said how good it was to have them there, the only downside is they need to sleep in plastic chairs so our next project is to work with the midwife teams and hospital staff again to see how it could be feasible to get some beds in for the dads!
All the feedback we gather is anonymous, randomised and fed back to the right teams – whether that’s the Midwives, Health Visitors, the Public Health team, the Comissioners (CCG) or a support service. We meet with them once a quarter and any parent who wants to share their feedback personally can attend and share their story, or send it in on email for us to use.
You can find out more information about both the Hull and the East Riding MVPs on our website here.