Co-designing the future of maternity care

Last week was a very special week for #MatExp – so much happening! We held a #MatExp Whose Shoes event in Warrington. There had been a big build up - I was a bit daunted by the level of expectation. πŸ‘€ The session had been a long time in the making. Ever since three members of staff ' failed to fly' to Guernsey (fog!) to see a workshop in action, it had always been the intention that we would hold a session there one day. Especially once fab Tracey Cooper took over as Head of Midwifery!

It was a real shame that the Warrington people missed the Guernsey workshop, as it was one of the most memorable events we have done. You can read the story here.

And it led to probably my favourite tweet of all time from fab Steve Hams, who had had the vision to commission the Guernsey workshop - the first #MatExp Whose Shoes event after the five initial London pilots.

Tracey is one of the most humble, genuine leaders that I know. Don't be deceived by her quiet, unassuming manner – she makes great things happen!

And Tracey's team are the RCM midwifery unit of the year. Huge honour to work with them!

As many friends will know, my lovely mum a.k.a @Gills_mum is not at all well at the moment, so I'm cutting down on work commitments. But luckily, albeit a bit sleep deprived, I found myself catching the early train to Warrington.

At such an emotional time in my life, it was particularly moving to arrive at the Tim Parry Jonathan Ball Peace Centre and see the fantastic legacy that has arisen from the tragic death of these two children in Warrington.

The team had put a great deal of effort into planning the event - this always pays off!

Soon people were signing in...

We had a busy schedule ahead.

Tracey introduced the session and showed our #MatExp #WhoseShoes film πŸŽ₯. youtu.be/UrsCeRHQ8XA. I told people about the @ClevelandClinic πŸŽ₯ that inspired it.

And then it was my turn.

Throughout the workshops, we plant the seeds of disruptive change : "be the change you want to see in the world". It felt very symbolic seeing this famous quote on the wall.

I felt proud telling people about my recent talk at the prestigious Quality and Safety Forum.

It was a 75 minute session, co-presenting with Zel Maikori from Nigeria. We invited Leigh Kendall, one of our inspirational #MatExp Mum-leaders, to join us and share her personal story and the work she is doing through #HugosLegacy. The key message, as it is throughout my work, was that anyone can be a leader - you just need passion and something that you truly believe in. #MatExp provides a platform for individuals to do this.

Nigeria has the highest mortality rate in the world in maternity care. And yet Zel and her team are making changes that are having a really positive impact. And we had some fun too. πŸ‹πŸ‘ 

As time goes on, and we see more and more positive changes happening as a result of pledges made at our workshops, I get bolder in terms of firing people up to feel that they too can make a difference.

I love how there's always a 'first' at each #MatExp #WhoseShoes sesh. Encourage creativity - people will respond! 🎩 Displaying the 'Whose Shoes' poem on each table was a first at WHHNHS πŸ’œ

Anna Geyer produced yet another colourful #MatExp design on the giant white paper on the wall, which would be a focus for the whole event. Recording live all the key points from the conversations in the room.

Soon the discussions were underway, In the brief interlude where she was awaiting the post-its, Anna was there with her camera!

Language - again! It is a lightbulb moment when health care professionals realise the impact of the language they use – possibly medical or patronising – on the women and families they care for. Such a simple simple thing to change, where there is a will.

We have produced several of the #MatExp poems as A3 posters. It's good to see people displaying them in hospitals & at events. This important poem about Maternity Voices Partnerships is by Mary Newburn.

Fantastic, as always, to see the mums and babies in the room

I am not a big fan of rules but we have a clear rule at #MatExp Whose Shoes sessions that only the babies are allowed to fall asleep! πŸ˜‚

The session was pretty much running itself now. Tracey and I had lots of time to tweet! πŸ˜‰

Time flies at these events. There is so much energy. Once again we wondered: was it a record number of posts its? Would it lead to a record number of pledges? It was time for Anna to feed back on the key themes that people had been talking about.

This is a regular theme of our workshops. It is not enough just providing good services; people need to know what is available so they can choose them. Communication is key.

It struck me again how the themes of providing good care and making people feel safe are consistent, regardless of the topic. Ironically, my mum has since gone all night without pressing the buzzer when she needed a drink – she had the idea that she might be told off if she pressed the buzzer as this had happened once before – but in much more trivial circumstances. People do not want to be a burden.

Paranoia about ink coming through on lovely white tablecloths as people grabbed the felt tip pens to make their pledges on the A4 pledge cards 😱 – another 'first' for Warrington!

I find it interesting how people in the NHS are programmed to believe that everything of value must be measurable. Lovely Carys, #skatingmidwife, is such a force of energy that everything she does will have an impact. Don't waste time stressing about how to measure passing on your fabulous positive vibe, Carys - #JFDI πŸ˜‰

Go Carys! And a reminder to #MatExp Whose Shoes? sites – you should now have the new 'Nobody's Patient' resources. They will help you coproduce solutions across maternity and neonatal care.

And it was definitely a first to try to hand out little shoes πŸƒβ€β™€οΈ& #JFDI badgesπŸƒβ€β™€οΈ& take video πŸƒβ€β™€οΈwhile people were sharing their pledges πŸ‘€ We had a very moving and honest exchange between obstetricians and midwives, working together to improve women's experience.

And ... no! In future workshops, you cannot all immediately have your pledges turned into posters by Anna!! πŸ‹πŸ‹πŸ‹

#JFDI was being taken to extremes here – these posters ended up in the operating theatre on the same day! Inspired by the fabulous @JennytheM!

A couple of my very favourite tweets of the day came from lovely Rita. "Where would we be without her"... πŸ˜‰

Seriously, where would be we be without our #FabObs like Rita who are prepared to listen and be so very honest in sharing their experiences and making changes when necessary.

I thought back to the first time I met Mel Pickup, CEO of Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS FT. It was at a dementia event - with my lovely friend Sarah Reed next to her on the panel.

Mel subsequently wrote an 'in my shoes' guest blog about twiddle muffs! Hoping Mel will be interested in how other hospitals, who have similarly had exciting maternity workshops, are now using Whose Shoes to improve their dementia care services.

Looking forward to seeing how they continue to build the energy for positive change in Warrington – exciting times indeed!

Are YOU ready to change the world? πŸ’₯ Join us. #MatExp πŸ’₯ nutshellcomms.co.uk πŸ‹ @WhoseShoes πŸ‹ matexp.org.uk