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In its new annual report, the Somerset Maternity Voices Partnership (SMVP) highlights just how much positive change can be achieved to improve health and care services, when those who provide care truly value the experience and expertise of those they aim to serve.

The SMVP annual report is celebrating a year of coproduction – a way of working built on the principle that those who are affected by a service are best placed to design it.

Last year, SMVP represented maternity service users and worked with maternity care providers and decision makers to design, develop, and improve maternity care at a local, regional, and national level. They have made sure that services understand people’s needs and use their expertise to develop innovative and effective solutions.

SMVP and its volunteers worked with NHS partners on a broad range of coproduction projects last year, including:

  • Design and implementation of a new Somerset Maternal Mental Health Service (working with Somerset CCG and Maternal Mental Health Teams).
  • Design and production of Somerset’s pregnancy and baby loss personalised care plan to improve the quality and consistency of bereavement care (working with Somerset NHS Hospital Trusts).
  • Improving communications and support for Black, Asian and minority ethnic families, through production of an operational policy and the creation of leaflets that were translated into 20 different languages to be given to all Black, Asian and other ethnic minority women being looked after in Somerset (working with the Somerset Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS)).
  • Development of communications materials to support Somerset Public Health’s Healthy Pregnancy Project and guiding their work with service users (working with the LMNS Public Health Midwife).

In addition, the Chair of SMVP, Donna Butland, sat alongside maternity service professionals on over 50 strategic planning, decision-making and project groups, making sure the voices of maternity service users are heard and acted on at the highest level.

Announcing the annual report, Donna Butland, Chair of the Somerset Maternity Voices Partnership, said: “I am immensely proud of what we have managed to achieve this year, despite the challenges of COVID. We have shown our understanding of the pressures that maternity care units have been working under, but we have continued to champion the voices of those using maternity services. We have made sure that your expertise and perspectives are heard, respected, and valued at the highest level by those making decisions, and that your input is sought at every stage to help drive change and improvement in Somerset’s maternity services. As we recover from the pandemic, it is more important than ever that we work together to learn from these challenging times.”

Becky Applewood, Deputy Director of Women’s and Children’s Health, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, commented: “The last couple of years have been a challenging time for the NHS, including maternity services. Throughout all the pressure, the MVP have supported us while making sure that we never lose sight of what matters to Somerset families. Our aim is to ensure those who need our maternity services are kept safe, get the support they need, and have the best possible experience. Keeping those that need our services at the centre of all we do is essential and I truly believe that working alongside our MVP improves our services in every way. I would encourage every person in Somerset who is using or has recently used our maternity services to be part of the MVP, we need to hear about your experiences so that we can review and make relevant changes.”

Read the full Somerset Maternity Voices Annual Report 2020/21 to find out more about their work, to hear some of the real stories that have been shared to help improve maternity services learn and improve, and to find out what they will be focusing on in 2021/22, including the Ockenden Report.

 

Find out more and keep up to date with the work of the Somerset Maternity Voices Partnership by visiting: healthwatchsomerset.co.uk/somerset-mvp/ and follow their social media.