Royal College of Midwives Chief Executive visits Cornwall maternity units

on 24 June 2019 Midwifery

Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, Gill Walton,  made a three-day visit to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly last week, finding out about the progress the Royal Cornwall Hospital's midwifery team has been making to ensure its services are brilliant for families and for staff.

The team has been making many changes to improve care for parents and families since a Care Quality Commission inspection in 2017 rated the service as 'Inadequate.' They have also been working hard to develop a better working environment where colleagues can feel involved, have their say, and genuinely contribute to new developments.

Gill's visit began with a trip to St Mary's on the Isles of Scilly where she met midwife Charlotte Hicks to find out more about the unique midwifery service on the Islands. Members of the RCHT midwifery team were also present and Gill had the chance to meet with, and talk to, local families. Whilst here, Gill officially named the Island Birth Suite at the hospital.

On Wednesday Gill spent the day at the Royal Cornwall Hospital where she heard from members of the midwifery team about a wide variety of projects they have been leading. There was also a tour of the recently opened Birth Centre and other facilities, as well as an opportunity to talk with new parents and representatives from the Maternity Voices Partnership – service users who are actively involved developing and improving services.

Head of Midwifery, Jane Urben, said: "We have had three exciting days showing Gill the work we are doing and how we are working together with other professional groups, agencies and families across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to make a real and sustainable impact on the health and wellbeing of mothers, babies, fathers and the wider community. On behalf of the maternity service and the Trust we would like to thank Gill for her truly memorable visit."

The final day of Gill's visit included a trip to Penrice Birth Centre, which has recently had a relaunch after a refurbishment and the reintroduction of 24-hour midwifery cover at the Centre.

As her visit came to a close, Gill said: "This was such a positive and uplifting experience. It was an honour to be asked to visit, and to see the wonderful work the midwives, maternity support workers and their colleagues are doing to improve services."

"Meeting the women, babies and their families was also a highlight", continues Gill. "It was so good to talk to them and to hear from them about how they valued the care and support they received from their maternity service. The staff are really striving, and succeeding, to provide the best service possible, and I thank them all for their effort, dedication and commitment, and for letting me share their achievements."

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