Still some way to go…

But let's stop and celebrate how far we have come #MatExpAdvent Day 15

We are getting there!

Let's take a moment to enjoy the view

Today is a special day. The results of the 2015 CQC maternity survey have just been published. For the purposes of this story, let's assume that CQC stands for 'Christmas quickly Cometh'. For, after all this is a Christmas advent series. 🎅🏻🌲🎅🏻 But it also stands for the Care Quality Commission – the guys responsible for inspecting maternity services and finding out what progress has been made since the last survey two years ago.

And we have an exclusive! A quote from fab Kath Evans, Patient Experience Lead for maternity and children's services at NHS England: "It's great news! The system is moving in the right direction & it is thanks to the AMAZING midwives, obstetricians and other healthcare professionals who are embracing the maternity experience agenda. The national results confirm that professionals are listening and connecting with women & families. So without getting complacent and while fully acknowledging that more needs to be done, let's take a moment to 'enjoy the view' & say WELL DONE!"

This is good news indeed for #MatExp! And we are eagerly awaiting the report of the National Maternity Review (due early next year) and hoping that the review team have taken on board as many as possible of the powerful contributions made via our #MatExp collaboration.

And I am personally hoping that two or three of our #MatExp #WhoseShoes pilot hospitals will be leading lights in the new survey results. Hospitals who came out badly in the last survey. And who have tried really really hard to listen to women & work with them to improve. And I think they have. 😉

Getting things right for mothers and babies, consistently, is our aim.

But sometimes it is not easy for healthcare professionals to speak out if they see things that are wrong and could be improved. My friend Jenny Clarke @JennytheM is someone who does this regularly. And it takes a big whack of courage butter.

Sent to Jenny by Tracey

This has been a powerful #MatExp mantra; started by #FabObs Flo @FWmaternitykhft "Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it; right is right even if no-one is doing it"

Courage - one of the #NHS 6Cs.

It is important to be able to go against the tide if that is the right thing to do.

The fab graphics you see in our stories, are by New Possibilities. Anna Geyer and Carrie Lewis record the discussions and pledges at many Whose Shoes events, leading to powerful actions.

I was very honoured to be invited to write a chapter in an important book, with 40+ international contributors, exploring compassion in maternity care. 'The roar behind the silence' was published in February and has already been reprinted.

Courage comes in many forms and so do the contributors in #MatExp. We are finding different platforms to spread key messages, with people regularly moving outside their comfort zones.

It can be tough being a tall poppy. It is easier to blend into the crowd. #MatExp helps people who are passionate about positive change to stand together.

Sian @spencer_sian wrote a brilliant blog about vulnerability yesterday: http://specialisedplay.blogspot.com/2015/12/conversations-that-matter.html?spref=TWrite

It is so much easier to go with the prevailing current

It is good to see when healthcare professionals at all levels support each other, recognising the strains that they and their colleagues can be under.

Jane Pollock @midwife_jane came up with a 'Carers' toolkit' with lots of practical tips. The safety pin is a particularly important one, reminding people to keep up-to-date with practice; learn from incidents; reflect on practice and support colleagues.

But also reminding people that it is important to relax and look after themselves physically and mentally. If staff are not well cared for, which can be a real issue with the pressures in the NHS, how can they do their best caring for patients?

A cup of tea or coffee, made just the way you like it and shared with a supportive colleague, can recharge depleted resources

So I look forward to reading the results of today's maternity survey in more detail but some of the things that have been identified as needing further attention are of particular interest. As Kath Evans says, we still have plenty of work to do!

Here are four points that stand out for further action: 1. Women are still reporting being left alone in the early stages of labour and this worries them. 2. The number of women giving birth in stirrups or lithotomy position is going up, Why? 3. When women raise concerns, they feel they aren't being listened to. 4. Women want more Information on emotional changes they'll experience.

Yes, there is plenty to keep us busy! And of course local centres will have their own local issues. There are several #MatExp #WhoseShoes workshops lined up early in the New Year and we hope to encourage more people to come on board and hold their own sessions to explore what needs to change on their patch.

So as we come towards the end of a rather amazing year for #MatExp (the hashtag has 270 million Twitter impressions) it is good to reflect on achievements of everyone working in the sector.

Let's stop and breathe the air. Celebrate the improvements so far.

And then aim higher 😉

I wonder what 2016 will bring.

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