Kara Smallman: A Mums View
What is the West Cumbria Maternity Voices Partnership?
We are a team made up of parents from all walks of life, staff, commissioners and providers who work together to review and contribute to the development of our local maternity services and care. Maternity Voices is part of a national initiative that hopes to support and raise standards for women and their families at an important time in their lives.
One of the most important goals we have is that every woman on the maternity pathway has a chance to have her voice heard and her experienced fed into working practice to constantly strive to improve the experience no matter the context. We gather experiences from a wide variety of women and their families and feedback (anonymously) to a variety of audiences.
At present we are working to improve the environments of the Midwifery Led rooms at WCH. We have made designs, together with staff to understand the need for sensitivity and practicality when making changes. We decided against contacting “DIY SOS” as we thought we may need at least a few pieces of equipment that weren’t made from MDF! As a result we have tried to make some minor changes that will help a family feel at ease in what can be seen as a very sterile environment. We have looked into wall art, incorporating colour changing bulbs into lamps and lighting, seascape images for walls. MP3 players and Scentsy (scent warmers) were already in rooms, so it was easy to see the benefit of those in creating a relaxing environment. Local photographers have also donated artwork, which include a variety of images including a father giving skin to skin contact to his child to beautiful images of pregnant women in nature. At present our focus is on the Midwifery Led rooms and the corridors, but we want to make all women, no matter what their pathway, comfortable in the unit as a whole.
Put simply we have had a wide range of experiences at West Cumberland Hospital and are passionate that we can work alongside a variety of services and professionals to make changes to enable mothers of the future to have the very best from all maternity services at WCH. If you would like to talk to us or ask further questions then please do not hesitate in doing so. We are on Facebook and also hold regular meetings at the hospital.