#MatExp is a social movement to improve maternity experience. June has been incredible month of action. I was thrilled to be invited to bring the Whose Shoes? #MatExp experience to Guernsey!

This is Florence Wilcock, my #MatExp partner in crime. We call her 'FabObs Flo' because she is a fabulous person-centred obstetrician. Florence has been the driving force behind using the Whose Shoes? approach to improve maternity services.🌟

Florence Wilcock and Gill Phillips are also using 'Whose Shoes?' to explore and improve specific areas of patient experience at Kingston Hospital in London, where Florence is divisional director for specialist services. Kingston was the original site of the five successful #MatExp pilot workshops across London.

Mr #WhoseShoes & I had never been to Guernsey so we turned it into a little holiday. It gave me the chance to meet the people and absorb the culture and the beauty of this fascinating island, ahead of the workshop.

Guernsey is quirky. I πŸ’œ quirky. 😎

Plenty of scope for #SHCR #boatrockers πŸ˜‰

And Guernsey is extremely beautiful. Flowers everywhere!

Steve Hams had been following the progress of the London workshops and the huge interest generated on Twitter. He and his team decided it would be an exciting way of getting users and healthcare professionals to come together to explore some of the issues they were facing around improving maternity services in Guernsey.

The Whose Shoes? board games with the new bespoke maternity scenarios had been duly posted...

And had arrived safely!

We had had lots of phone calls. Hazel (a.k.a Dizzy Rock Chick) had done a lot of planning...

And the 'Whose Shoes? Maternity workshop toolkit' produced by the NHS London Strategic Clinical Network proved extremely useful!

It feels like an exciting collaboration. Listening, sharing good practice, breaking down barriers.

Anna Geyer arrived. She who does the wonderful graphic recording. We took her to breathe in the views!

And share a bottle of Jenny Clarke's fabulous #MatExp wine! 🍷🍷

The big day arrived...

I put on my #MatExp necklace - a lovely present from Florence.

We got the room ready. Anna was in charge of e-numbers! πŸ‘€

Facilitators briefing

Anna wanted to practise drawing the Guernsey flag. I found her this flower for inspiration...

Ready to go!

Setting the scene

#MatExp #WhoseShoes #HSSDGuernsey

We showed the new 'empathy' film that the NHS London Strategic Clinical Network commissioned as a very exciting direct outcome of our 'Whose Shoes?' workshops. Walking in the shoes of families experiencing maternity care.

Guernsey participants were amazed we'd had 130+ million #MatExp Twitter impressions & the power of social media, including our Facebook group & Pinterest board. It was brilliant to see new people signing up to join us! πŸ˜„

The #MatExp team are busy bees. The #MatExp energy is unstoppable!

How do we feel about change?


#HSSDGuernsey is underway ! πŸ˜ƒ

As always, it was wonderful to hold conversations with recent mums, with their lovely babies reminding us of what is important.

Exploring the culture in an open and honest way is always difficult but everyone rose to the challenge. What difference does it make living on a small island? The conversations were fascinating and real. Arguably the first time such an experience has taken place. Anna and I felt proud and very honoured that our combined approach was helping people move forward.

A well deserved lunch and the informal networking continued

It was great to see the '#MatExp bake off' continuing – cake is an important part of helping people relax and have fun, alongside the sometimes challenging conversations.

It is relatively easy to have great discussions but we were impressed that the participants in Guernsey were extremely solutions-focused.

Before we knew it, the workshop was over… But of course the real work in following up all the wonderful points made was only just beginning...

I flicked through the feedback forms. There were some great comments from midwives, obstetricians, other health professionals… This simple comment was one that really made my heart sing. Everyone has a role to play in improving patient experience. I loved hearing that one of the cleaners on the maternity ward had really enjoyed the session and felt included and valued! πŸ’œ

The feedback was very positive with mums saying that they felt listened to. Now we need the mums to go away and tell their friends and to get more and more people joining the conversations.

It is easy for public organisations to stay in 'safe' places. But it is exhilarating to try new approaches to engagement and explore the real issues together. If you can create the right environment of openness and transparency, "all the answers are in the room". πŸ˜‰

Confidence and mutual trust. Important seeds have been sown.

The team in Guernsey have plenty of material to be going on with. Plenty of actions to follow up. But the challenge is also to involve more and more people so that they too feel part of the process and have the chance to have their own 'lightbulb moments' about how things can improve. Users and staff alike - because we all want the best for women and families.

Already we are swapping great #MatExp ideas coming from the Whose Shoes? workshops. This has already happened richly between Kingston and other London hospitals. Now an active exchange is bringing in Guernsey, Warrington and other maternity teams who are prepared to 'drop the defences' and work collaboratively as a change platform.

And indeed great things DID happen in Guernsey. Added this page after the NMC report was published. Well done Steve Hams and team and thrilled that Whose Shoes played a part in this. Hoping to work with fab #HSSDGuernsey people more in the future!

It was good to relax after the workshop. I have a thing about yellow boats and the little yellow boat seemed to be rocking and sparkling a bit more than the others...

We felt we had earned one of Guernsey's famous ice creams.

This story wouldn't be complete without thanking Florence and all our other wonderful #MatExp leaders for their unstinting passion and commitment to positive change!

So there you have it. The end of #MatExp #FlamingJune. And things are really heating up – including, finally, the weather!

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