As one of only two specialist women's hospital trusts in the country, we strongly believe that we should be leading the way in the quality of care we provide for women, their babies and families.
I think two newspaper stories this week demonstrate that we are already leading the field in areas such as improving maternity facilities, involving fathers in their baby’s birth and supporting women with antenatal depression.
Announcing a new scheme to get more men involved in childbirth, the Health Department is urging maternity units to encourage fathers to be involved in the birth and to be provided with overnight accommodation should they wish to stay near to their partner and newborn child.
Here at Liverpool Women's, Consultant Midwife Simon Mehigan has already devised a programme called Active Birth for Fathers which he highlighted at the recent Royal College of Midwives conference. Involving fathers from parenting classes to birth and afterwards is high on our agenda. We even have special support for the partners of our teenage mothers to ensure they are involved in the pregnancy and caring for the baby.
As part of our refurbishment of maternity facilities, we have already introduced a scheme whereby fathers are provided with overnight accommodation so they can stay close to new mum and baby.
The report also calls for more birthing pools and en suite facilities which, again, we have increased in our new facilities. We are also providing 20 more birthing pools for home births. We have already fulfilled for a long time another recommendation - the need for families to have a bereavement service and private areas where they can spend time to grieve and be comforted. Our new refurbished facilities provide two special bereavement rooms. In addition our bereavement team is highly regarded by our parents for their ongoing support, even years after their loss.
Another new report has called for more support for women suffering with antenatal depression. Again, I feel we are ahead of the field here with our specialist Perinatal Mental Health and Disability Team who are held in high esteem nationally for their work with Mersey Care to help women suffering depression and other mental health problems before and after birth. This is the only team of its kind in the country and its work is setting a standard which other Trusts are keen to follow.
I mention all these things because I think this highlights that we are a trail-blazing organisation, always seeking to be one step ahead in the quality of the care we deliver for all of our patients. This is because we are constantly seeking patient feedback to find out what our patients want and because staff are also involved in identifying what needs to be improved and what facilities would enhance our patients' experience. But be assured we will not be resting on our laurels but will continue to strive to provide the best for our patients and their families.