Learning from the voices of women and birthing people to improve antenatal and maternity health

Show case event

25 Apr 2024
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On Monday 25 March, the South East London Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS) organised a show case event bringing together people with lived experience, maternity service staff, Maternity and Neonatal Voices Partnerships, NHS leaders and voluntary and community sector organisations.

The event aimed to showcase and share insights in an innovative way about the work of five voluntary sector organisations that the LMNS partnered with over the last year. They reached underrepresented maternity communities across south east London and worked with them to better understand the challenges they face and how services can be more accessible for everyone.

The event was a great opportunity for people involved in the projects to give feedback in a safe environment through the use of art, poetry and theatre. Participants where able to talk openly and honestly about challenges as well as possible solutions from their experience in using maternity services across south east London (SEL).

The session included presentations and performances and highlighted the voices of women and birthing people involved, the key issues and insights identified from the work. Over 55 participants attended, and it was a great opportunity for networking and future collaboration and partnerships.

The five organisations involved in the delivery of the project are Yewande 103, Creating Ground C.I.C, Healthwatch Greenwich, Healthwatch Lambeth, East of England LGA. Through a variety of methods, they have been listening and collating feedback from specific under-served communities such as: migrants, asylum seekers, Black, Asian, and Ethnic Minority groups, those who have experience of miscarriage, pregnancy loss or termination of pregnancy due to fetal bnormality, LGBTQ+ and neurodiversity.

“The more that you are developing those trusting relationships with people, the more we can adapt services and create that trusting supportive network for people so they do feedback more and they are getting the support that they need.” – Rachel Heathcock, Project Manager, East of England Local Government Association.

The insights will help us understand and deliver actions moving forward to support the development and improvement of South East London maternity and neonatal services.

A key outcome of this pioneering programme is the direct engagement of women, birthing people and families to talk about their needs, experiences and expectations and put these findings at the centre of a new and more responsive approach.

Jacqui Kempen RM, Head of Maternity, South East London Local Maternity and Neonatal System talked about the value of this approach “We know that not all women and birthing people in SEL have the same experience and outcomes when they use maternity services. It is a priority for the LMNS and the NHS South East London that we listen and work with those communities to make the improvements needed to ensure that all have safe and equitable care”.

Read more about this project here.