Everyone is welcome! Join our global social movement to improve maternity care! πŸ˜‰

There is always something new happening with #MatExp, and at last we had the chance to speak about it at a global conference. So it made me smile arriving at the prestigious Excel centre in London seeing purple planes taking off every few seconds πŸ˜‰

I was staying with my best friend from school in the suburbs of London. I had some eventful journeys to and from Excel over the 3 days of the conference. But that is a different story. As is the fun we had together. Thanks Theresa! 😘

There is always great excitement around the Quality and Safety Forum. People are meeting up from all over the world. It is a networking fest. πŸ’œ

It was helpful to print off our badges in advance to avoid long registration queues. And add a bit of graffiti. πŸ˜‰

The stream of people arriving was never ending! 3000 people from 80 different countries.

And here is the very special lady that I couldn't wait to meet. Zel Maikori is doing amazing work improving maternity care in Nigeria. We were going to be presenting together!

First I had to queue to register my poster. Thankfully my friend Maureen had tipped me off to get a fabric version, folded neatly in the top of my bag. People had struggled on planes with long plastic tubes, checked in as excess baggage. 😱

It was a great feeling to see people looking at our #MatExp Whose Shoes poster in the general exhibition, and soon I was going to get a chance to do a poster presentation.

We had also done a '#JFDI' 'video poster', This includes a crowdsourced RAP, personally commissioned by Sarah-Jane Marsh, fab NHS Maternity Transformation leader, performed by some of our amazing #MatExp mums. You can watch it here.

#Quality2017 is huge! I had to get my bearings. I asked Olivia but she just kept smiling at me...

It is such a huge event and so many people to talk to. It is hard to balance all the different things I want to do. I am really looking forward to joining the 'Q community'. πŸ™πŸΌ

But I did NOT miss my friend Anya @Anyadei quizzing Don Berwick & Lord Darzi. Wow! πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½

It felt incredibly authentic having world healthcare leaders interviewed by patient leaders.

And it was the first time I'd had the privilege to hear Margaret Murphy. A lovely lilting Irish tone, full of insight and common sense. Margaret's son Kevin had decided not to become a doctor in case he made a medical error costing someone their life. And then died himself as a result of a medical error. Well done Margaret for your courage in telling Kevin's story and making so much good come from the learning from this.

Then it was time to vote. Yay! A debate about the tick box culture would take place that evening. I knew which way I would be voting… And yet my friend Christina Krause @ck4q from Canada would be on the opposing team, and she is awesome!

I learned about 'Patients as partners' work in Sweden. A far more structured, 'cautious' approach than Whose Shoes but with very similar aims. I had arranged to meet fab Cristin Lind after the session and compared notes in more detail with one of her colleagues discussing our respective maternity programmes.

At the break, I was missing my co-conspirators in the #MatExp gang -Leigh Kendall was coming, but not until the evening. I fancied a game of Jenga! It always feels quite symbolic to me. How far can you make scarce resources go, before it all comes crashing down!

Leigh is one of our 'no hierarchy, just people' #MatExp leaders and has set up the influential #HugosLegacy, following the death of her son Hugo, born prematurely. I was looking forward to seeing her later.

I headed off for the main exhibition hall. It was time for the poster presentations around person centred care. I wasn't quite sure how it would work, as I hadn't done one before.

I was thrilled to see a 'great poster' sticker on our poster and invitation to submit it to BMJ Open Quality. I have no idea if we will have time to do this - there is just too much happening.

We had a large group of people. The idea was that we would each get the chance to present our poster for five minutes, including the opportunity for others to ask questions. All the posters were really interesting and covered very different topics: global best practice around person-centred care.

The presenters' styles were very different, but as always the more interactive ones were more engaging.

This poster had survived an emergency landing coming from Sydney! ✈️ So many stories, so much to learn!

Person centred care is being applied in acute settings – a cardiac ward in Sweden this time!

My mind was working overtime. I have visited Sydney Children's Hospital – and Whose Shoes is being used as part of improving communications in the #CYPMeFirst programme.

I wondered if we'd get round to my presentation. It was almost at the end. I asked people if anyone was keen to join a global movement to improve maternity care – and by the way did they like my necklace? #MatExp πŸ˜‰

I was thrilled to have a chat with Dr George Perrett, one of the fab Darzi Fellows. We originally met through our coproduction module. He very generously said that 'Whose Shoes' was a really authentic coproduction tool being used very successfully at his hospital: Homerton. It reminded me of the packed (standing room only) #MatExp workshop we'd held there!!

George then did his own presentation – palliative care in an acute setting! Last but not least. Everyone had the chance to crowd around him and ask great questions!

I then went to a session entitled 'Developing the next generation of healthcare leaders in Africa and around the globe'. It was interesting and gave me insights for my own presentation with Zel the following day.

As soon as I sat down, a lovely young GP sitting next to me said Hi ! Dr. Lesley Perkins: another one of the fab Darzi Fellows - I make such great connections through this work! At the end of the session, we stayed and chatted for an hour. I gave her a #JFDI badge for her wonderful work in reducing unnecessary diagnostic tests.

Eek! I needed to make time to do the 'speaker check in' with the technical guys. My presentations are simple in content: visual storytelling rather than death by bullet points. But with embedded audios, film clips and time delays, things can go badly wrong... 😱

I had chosen a good time. The queues had died down and Alec and Richard couldn't have been more helpful. Can you see the sweeties on the table? We had a bit of a laugh! πŸ˜‚

Alec and I ran through the whole thing. Nothing was too much trouble. We needed to blend it into a single presentation with the slides Zel had already submitted and there was a significant technical hitch. Alec promised to sort it. I gave him a #MatExp 'I said, I did' badge. πŸ˜‰

I had lost track of the programme. I was disappointed to miss the 'patient innovators' session but heard it was really good. Take a look at a powerful #wearenotwaiting hashtag. I will see if it is available to catch up with on the livestream app.

Then it was off to the evening debate. I was delighted to meet Ann-Marie Riley, one of the originators of #EndPJparalysis. She definitely deserved a #JFDI badge. Kate Pound introduced me to her – apparently she had been 'starstruck on the escalator'. Twitter's a very strange connector!! πŸ˜‚

The debate was fast paced and entertaining.

Well done indeed Christina Krause. But you owe me one. #VotingBias πŸ˜‰

It was magical stepping out into the night, reflecting on a great day

I bumped into some wonderful people from across the world – united in the desire to work out the transport system and find our way home!

People. Just people. So much more in common than that which divides us.

On the Friday, it was another early start. My session was at 11am but I wanted to arrive to be part of the social movement session at 8am. I had really enjoyed meeting Sasha Karakuselic the previous evening. Get on board with #EndPJParalysis! Spread the word about #MatExp - over πŸ’₯700 millionπŸ’₯ Twitter impressions now!πŸš€πŸš€πŸš€ πŸ”₯ Look up #CovMindTheGap too! πŸ”₯ And #VibrantHealth17! πŸ˜€πŸ“ˆ

Helen Bevan and the Horizons team were leading the session. Kathryn Perera was talking powerfully about what it takes to build a social movement. I was very proud to see @leighakendall on the team. A highly skilled NHS Communications professional, telling everyone about #HugosLegacy and #MatExp. I have just seen that there are over 100 Steller stories about #MatExp and #NobodysPatient, and another 33 about #MatExpAdvent! πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŒ²πŸ˜‰

Hello Talya from Canada!! When you've been told to talk to the person next to you for 2 minutes, but you find someone really interesting … We sat and chatted for ages. Talya is trying to improve things for older people in Toronto. I told her about #FreeGillsMum.

It was time for our session. Speaking about #MatExp at a global conference. I felt the weight of responsibility as it is such a collaborative project. I had submitted the abstract hoping to speak with my co-founder #FabObs Florence Wilcock, Consultant Obstetrician at Kingston Hospital, but had only managed to secure one main speaker place.

Stowaway Teddy was there early. Where on earth had he come from? "Anyone can be a leader" was his key message. πŸ‘πŸ½

Zel and I had a final run through in order to decide how best to present our material. We decided to do the whole thing as a double act. We had really 'clicked' by then and become friends. The situation in Nigeria and the UK is the very different but yet so similar in many ways. We are all people & the basic needs are the same.

Challenge assumptions. Shift the power dynamics. These important messages were at the centre of both of our presentations.

A powerful graphic from one of our #MatExp Whose Shoes workshops, drawn by Anna @New_Possibiliti.

Zel spoke about the problems in Nigeria and what they are doing to improve things (lots). We couldn't believe how relevant this comment was, posted in the Nigerian collaborative WhatsApp group the previous day. And for me, it challenged a lot of assumptions, How could some of the problems be so very basic... and yet they had a WhatsApp group??

I was proud to talk about Whose Shoes. Bringing everyone together as equals – 'no hierarchy, just people'. And the audience didn't realise that Leigh was going to join us and talk about the difference #MatExp has made to her as a bereaved mother and to building #HugosLegacy.

The whole session was lively, interactive and dynamic. It was full of 'lemon lightbulbs': lots of tips and ideas of what people can actually do to make a difference. Hoping #FabObs Flo's lithotomy challenge will now take off (even further!) around the world! πŸš€

Linking to the challenge that Zel was outlining, I was particularly proud to talk about two projects taking #MatExp Whose Shoes to Uganda. Alice Ladur, for her PhD, is working with men, changing attitudes and improving outcomes for women and babies.

It is so important to walk in other people's shoes and coproduce solutions that work. My favourite example from Zel's presentation was different tactics to get men more involved in their wives' maternity care. If your husband comes to your antenatal appointment, you can jump to the front of the queue! Just imagine suggesting that one in the UK!

I am running out of space. I wish I could tell you you more about our session, particularly how we were challenged at the end about performance measures - what difference is it all making? What have the Romans done for us? We immediately got people from all across the world jumping up saying what they would now do differently. We were handing out #JFDI and 'I said, I did' badges. People were queueing at the end to get our details and to find out how they could join the power - and fun! - of the #MatExp Whose Shoes social movement.

It was fabulous that so many of our friends came along to support us – both English ones…

And our new Nigerian friends! πŸ’œ #Quality2017

We gave a big shoutout to all the fab women, families and staff who have contributed to our collaborative project. It was lovely to see the reciprocity as they too mentioned us.

Leigh and I went off to enjoy lunch together. #MatExp brings real friendships and we certainly know how to unwind and support each other.

Meanwhile, the buzz of the event continued.

But all too soon it was time to say goodbye

Lots of stats πŸ“ˆπŸ“Š were flying about. It seemed I was making quite an impression. I was chuffed to get the chance to put our Whose Shoes work, and particularly #MatExp, on the map.

The time had simply whizzed by and now it was time to go home. I smiled seeing a sea of lemon. Did you know that lemons are the secret ingredient for building a change platform?

It had been an exhilarating two days. I really like the Quality and Safety Forum. Hoping we will get a chance to speak again next year and involve Florence Wilcock, and tell you about our #MatExp'Nobody's Patient' project. For now, it's the weekend and a chance to remove the shoes and grab some moderate inactivity! Thank you for following our journey πŸ’œ Gill @WhoseShoes πŸ‘ πŸ‘‘πŸ‘’πŸ‘žπŸ‘Ÿ

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