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Celebrating International Women's Day

It has been another busy week at Liverpool Women's Hospital.  Earlier this week I met with the Chief Executive and Medical Director from Morecambe Bay Hospitals who face many challenges in delivering sustainable maternity services across that part of the country. 

We have been assessed this week against the UNICEF Baby Friends Initiative Standards. This is a programme to encourage maternity hospitals to implement the 10 steps to our successful breastfeeding. Well done to our Infant Feeding Team.

At this time of the year we are busy negotiating our contracts and associated funding for next year with local Commissioners (the NHS bodies that buy services from hospitals).  This is always an extremely challenging process but never more so than now with the current economic climate. At Liverpool Women's we are keen to work with Commissioners to develop a networked approach to Women's services across Cheshire and Merseyside to ensure safe, sustainable and affordable services in a challenging economic climate.

On Tuesday Gail Naylor, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Operations and I met with Roz Gladdon, Deputy Leader of Liverpool City Council, ahead of the Liverpool City Council budget setting process on Wednesday. All public services are facing challenging times and it was clear that Liverpool City Council is having to make some very difficult decisions. It was useful to hear from Roz some of the Council's plans so that we can weigh up impact on our services. I feel we are lucky to have such an inspirational woman as Roz in a key leadership role in Liverpool.

On Tuesday evening we held a Council of Governors meeting.  The two key agenda items were a review of our Foundation Trust Constitution ahead of a full Members Meeting on Friday.  The second agenda item was a presentation from our Director of Finance, Vanessa Harris on our plans to increase our non-nhs income.  This will allow us to generate income that we will put back into improving NHS services.

On Wednesday we hosted a conference on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).  FGM is a cultural practice that is not required by any religion.  Specific FGM and child protection legislation and policy exists to protect children and young women from being subjected to the procedure.  FGM is also a health concern - there are no medical benefits to the individual following FGM procedures and it is harmful because of the various gynaecological, obstetric and psychological health complications for mother and baby. At Liverpool Women's we work hard to raise awareness of FGM among healthcare professionals and to provide sensitive and supportive services to young girls and women affected by this. Dr Joanne Topping, Consultant Obstetrician and Clinical Director at Liverpool Women's presented at the Conference.

Our Maternity services are always busy, we deliver each year 8500 babies at Liverpool Women's Hospital Crown Street site more than any other provider of maternity services in the country. We took the opportunity on Thursday to say a thank you to our maternity staff by delivering cup cakes to our Central Delivery Suite, Maternity Base, Midwifery Led Unit, Maternity Theatres, Ante-natal Clinic at Crown Street, Fetal Medicine unit and Community Midwives.  We will take opportunities over the next few months to say a similar thank you and well done to staff in our other services and sites.

The 8th March is International Women's Day and is the day we have chosen to hold our Special Members Meeting in order to seek our member’s agreement to some changes in our Constitution.  We will also hear from a young woman who has been on a work placement with us as part of a presentation on how we are working with schools to raise awareness of health service careers and how we support schools in delivering aspects of their curriculum.  We are also taking this opportunity to hold our second Partnership Summit, with local voluntary and other organisations from across the city to explore links for mutual benefit.

Everyday I am proud to be the CEO of the leading Women's Hospital in the Europe.  It feels fitting on International Women’s Day to share with you one of my favourite quotes about being a woman in a leadership role 'Being a strong woman leader means being respectful of everyone.  It does not mean being tolerant of every behaviour' (unknown).

Have a good weekend

by Kathryn Thomson

Chief Executive

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