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by Kathryn Thomson

Chief Executive

Happy 18th Birthday to us!

Well that was an exciting end to a busy week.

On Friday morning our Board of Directors visited our Hewitt Fertility Clinic in Knutsford.  Our Hewitt Fertility Centre is now achieving a remarkable 60% success rates.  We are so proud of what the teams have achieved.

On Friday a number of our senior consultants and our Board of Directors celebrated the remarkable achievement of our former Medical Director and current Consultant Urogynaecologist Dr David Richmond.  David has been elected President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and takes up office later this month.

On Saturday we opened our doors to the public for our Annual Members Meeting and Open Day.  I took the opportunity to inform the public of our significant achievements throughout the year 2012/13 and highlighted our plans for the current year.  We also heard from our Medical Director on key safety outcomes, including our excellent performance on prevention of infection.  Our Director of Finance informed the audience of how we allocate our money.  It costs an incredible £256,000 a day to run Liverpool Women’s Hospital!!!

We then had a presentation from Dr Leanne Bricker, Consultant Obstetrician with a special interest in Fetal Medicine.  Liverpool Women's is the only hospital in the North West of England to perform laser surgery on twin pregnancies that are complicated by a condition known as twin to twin transfusion.  This is a serious condition that can result in the loss of one or both babies.  Following Leanne’s fascinating presentation on the condition, treatment and outcomes we then heard a very moving account of how it feels to be parents faced with the news that your babies have this condition.  Andy spoke to us of the huge emotional journey that he and his wife Amanda had been on when their babies were diagnosed with this condition.  They spent a lot of time during the pregnancy at Liverpool Women's and Andy described how the friendliness and the 'scouse humour' helped him and Amanda during a very traumatic time.  As they live 40 miles away Andy described how some of the hospital facilities really helped him, when he needed to be here to support his wife.  Amanda and Andy's twin boys, Finlay and Oliver, were born at Liverpool Women's a year ago this week.  They featured in a lot of media interest last year as they were our first 'double survivors' following laser treatment.  Since then a further 7 sets of twins have survived the procedure.  Thank you to Andy and Amanda for sharing their very personal story with us. 

When you become a CEO of a hospital for the first time you are warned that you will have a trail of Consultants at your door all wanting a 'new bit of kit'.  On Saturday I was reminded of that.  Last week marked my 5th year as the CEO at Liverpool Women's and the first Consultant 5 years ago to knock on my door and ask for 'a new bit of kit' was Leanne Bricker.  That 'bit of kit' was the laser equipment that helped Leanne and the team save the lives of Finlay and Oliver and other babies.  Seeing those two little ones on Saturday made me realise that that was the best £50,000 I have ever spent.  Well done to Leanne and the team.

Following our formal Annual Members Meeting we joined the crowds at the celebration of our 18th birthday party.  A big thank you to Renshaw Baking who donated a huge 18th birthday cake. 

We had the wonderful young people from the Liverpool Signing Choir perform for us.  Watching them sign to 'The Greatest Love of All' is something I will always remember.  This has always been one of my favourite songs and the words 'I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way' seems so fitting with what we do at Liverpool Women's.

A massive thank you to all of our staff who conducted tours, manned stalls and those who enabled so many children to take teddy to outpatients to be patched-up.  Some of our nurses and midwives looked quite formidable in traditional nursing and matron uniforms.  Well done ladies you looked fab.

Thank you to our Governors, many of whom helped organise the day.  A big thank you to our small but perfect communications team, Mark, Jayne and Leon, you did an amazing job.

Although we were celebrating our 18th birthday on the Crown Street site, there has been a Women’s Hospital in Liverpool for over 200 years and on the day we put on display some of our archived memorabilia.  A fascinating account of women’s healthcare over the centuries.

It was great to see so many supporters of Liverpool Women’s Hospital including Steve and Vicky Greenall who are raising funds for us in memory of their daughter Mia.  I also got to meet Amy and her parents.  Amy was one of the first babies born at Liverpool Women's 18 years ago and was cared for on our Neonatal Unit.  Saturday was the first time that Amy and her parents had returned to the hospital. Normally access to our Neonatal Unit is strictly controlled; however we made an exception for Amy and her mum and dad. 

Last but certainly not least a big thank you to Jamie Carragher who officially opened our new Reception area.  So why Jamie?  Leaving aside my passion for Liverpool Football Club, we felt that Jamie represented so much of what is good about this city.  Jamie has set up the JC23 Foundation which aims to give as many children on Merseyside the chance to achieve their dreams.  Given the majority of those children will be born at Liverpool Women's Hospital we felt that forging a link between the 23 Foundation and Liverpool Women's Hospital was important.  Also Jamie's two children were born at Liverpool Women's. 

As well as officially opening our new reception and front of house facilities, Jamie also helped a number of children blow out the candles on our birthday cake.  Jamie then went on a tour of our maternity unit, meeting new mums and dads and having pictures taken.  I am sure he is now suffering 'writer's cramp' after signing so many autographs.  As ever he was a complete star and did his best to sign as many autographs as he could as well as pose for many photographs.  He really put a smile on the face of a lot of people at the hospital including the CEO.

10 September 2013