Annmaria Ellard, Miscarriage Specialist Nurse at Liverpool Women's, has been shortlisted for a new NHS Employers Federation National Award called the Kate Granger Award for Compassion in recognition of her excellent patient care. She was one of six NHS staff who were shortlisted out of hundreds of entries from throughout the UK.
Among those who nominated her were many of her patients from the Trust's acclaimed Miscarriage Clinic who praised her for her care, compassion and support at what are often very traumatic times.
“An absolutely amazing nurse. Possibly the kindest and most caring person we have ever met. Just what we needed when we attended the miscarriage clinic”, said one patient.
“Amazing care. Annmaria inspired me to become a midwife”, said another.
In her role as Miscarriage Specialist Nurse, Annmaria is the first point of contact for patients, taking what can be a full and distressing history of their miscarriages and guiding them through their care. Although she admits to sometimes crying with patients, she is always the professional, keeping calm and reassuring in a way that those who are frightened and suffer loss never forget.
Some women have endured anything from three or four to sixteen miscarriages. Yet they don’t want to give up hope. Annmaria encourages them to be positive, pledging that the clinic, which has patients from all over the UK, will try their best to help them to have a baby. In many cases, they succeed. But sometimes she has to sit with desperate couples and help them to accept that it may never happen to them.
Said Consultant Gynaecologist, Roy Farquharson, with whom she has worked since they started Liverpool Women's Miscarriage clinic over 25 years ago. “Annmaria is a dedicated professional who starts early, finishes late, is always dependable. She is that extra mile in the tank.
"In her role as Miscarriage Specialist Nurse, Annmaria is the first point of contact for patients, taking what can be a full and distressing history of their miscarriages and guiding them through their care. Although she admits to sometimes crying with patients, she is always the professional, keeping calm and reassuring in a way that those who are frightened and suffer loss never forget."
Annmaria is also Leader of Liverpool Women’s Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit. (EPAU) for patients between six and 12 weeks’ pregnant who may present with pain, bleeding and etopic pregnancies. It is a time of high anxiety about possible early pregnancy loss, especially those who have already suffered miscarriages.
Said Gail Naylor, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Operations: “The Early Pregnancy Unit of LWH has a reputation nationally. We have grown and developed the service over the years to provide a sensitive, holistic, intuitive, nurse-led service which provides continuity to women and their families at a time that can be very difficult and challenging.
“Annmaria’s leadership has been critical to the success of the service. Her principles of compassionate care set the standard for the service and her professionalism and expertise drive her to continually seek ways of enhancing the service further.”
Driven by a desire to help even more patients achieve their dream of having a baby, Annmaria has also played an important part in NHS studies into miscarriage by avidly recruiting for three trials which have been funded to £5million in total across the UK.
When her profile was recently placed on Liverpool Women’s Facebook page, the Trust was inundated with messages from Miscarriage Clinic patients about her care and compassion.Some are listed below.
“Annmaria looked after us so many times through miscarriages and pregnancies. Amazing and so kind” - Alicia Evans
“She looked after me too, she’s a star. So sweet and compassionate - Hollie McIntyre
“I remember that Annmaria just gave me the time to sit and cry about my losses, not just labelled me" - Tracy Brookfield Cornmell
“Annmaria, you are fantastic at your job, so kind and caring, a true professional with a heart of gold” - Suzanne Fishwick.