Putting policy into practice

By Juliette Astrup on 05 October 2018 Maternity Transformation RCM Annual Conference

As transformation envelops maternity services, panellists opening day two of the RCM annual conference 2018 gave a timely view about what it takes to put change into practice on the front line. 

Taking the lead was Justine Craig, HoM at NHS Tayside, who shared her insights on what has helped her team bring in some of the changes set out in Scotland’s Best Start review.

The challenges ‘can’t be underestimated’ she told delegates, and the journey will see ‘mistakes and missteps along the way’.

She said: ‘If what you’re trying isn’t working, fix it and move on. Make sure what you are trying to achieve is realistic.’

She added: ‘Take it step by step. Rome wasn’t built in day. This requires huge changes and it can’t all be done at once.’

Flexibility and ensuring experiences – both of staff and women – are taken into account is also key Justine added: ‘Continue to listen to them throughout the process and at every step of the way.’

Deb Jackson, head of midwifery and associate director of nursing, family and therapies, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, spoke about the progress being made towards developing a new strategy for maternity services in Wales.

It’s a process, which has involved consulting with ‘everyone in maternity services’ explained Deb: ‘We wanted to ensure that everybody had a voice.’ 

She added: ‘We wanted to be brave. We wanted to have a maternity vision that we could embrace, that was useful, that wasn’t 300 pages thick collecting dust. We need it to be used to be embedded into services – we want people to embrace it to be passionate about it.’

The plan is set to launch on 6 December.

Delegates also heard from Ann Remmers, midwife and clinical director at the South West Maternity and Children’s Strategic Clinical Network, who told how, when it comes to transformation, ‘networking and collaboration has never been more important’ and ‘leadership is key.’

She added: ‘HoMs and local leaders play a crucial role, but leaders don’t always have to be in a leadership role – identifying leaders within your team can often help unlock those leadership challenges.’

She welcomed the spotlight on maternity services, adding: ‘Maternity Transformation Programme in England is an amazing opportunity to make our maternity services work well for everyone and to make us even prouder of the jobs we do as midwives.

‘The opportunity for us to be leaders of this programme, to be in the driving seat, is one we must take – for the future of midwifery and our maternity services.’