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Wednesday, 22 November 2017
Better support for women as specialist midwives appointed
29 July 2016

Pregnant women and new mums receiving care from Ipswich Hospital are now able to access better support than ever before following the appointment of three new specialist midwives.

Consultant midwife Helen Smith, bereavement midwife Ali Brett and Linda Savage, who is the lead midwife for perinatal mental health, have all taken up their posts over the summer. They will work together with colleagues from within the hospital and the wider NHS to make sure women with more complex needs receive the best possible care and support.

Helen is only the second consultant midwife in the region. She is responsible for championing midwifery and making sure Ipswich meets best practice guidelines for care, and also runs a birth choices clinic so that women with additional needs have all the information they need to make a decision about where to have their baby.

Helen is also exploring ways of enhancing the birthing environment to help women be more active in labour by using birthing pools, beanbags and mats, for example, which can help labour progress more smoothly when used as an alternative to a bed.

“I am just so fortunate to have this opportunity and am really enjoying the job,” she said. “My role is partly about making sure women understand all the evidence when they are making choices about the birth, then working with colleagues to put an appropriate care plan in place.

“I am also here to support my fellow midwives to do the simple things which can really make a difference to women and help them feel in control during this life-changing time.”

Ali’s aim is to further improve the service offered to bereaved parents, as well as providing valuable individual support. Over the coming months, she hopes to work with the Petals Charity, which is based at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, to introduce a specialist counselling service at Ipswich Hospital.

She said: “I want to make sure everybody gets the best possible patient experience, as it can really help with healing.

“People cope with the loss of a baby in a huge variety of ways. I’m here to advocate for the family and do whatever I can to help them deal with the situation in the way that best suits them, and can visit and phone them regularly in the first few months, if needed, to support them.”

Linda is Ipswich Hospital’s first perinatal mental health midwife, and will be responsible for developing and introducing a new service to support pregnant women and new mothers affected by mental health issues. She will also act as an advocate for the women and their families to make sure their views are acknowledged and addressed.

“I’ve always had an interest in mental health and feel that people do not always receive the care they need at the time they need it,” she said. “We need to remove the stigma often attached to mental health, as it may prevent people from asking for support.

“Over the coming months, I would like to help different professions to work together more closely so that we can further improve the care we provide and make sure it really focuses on the wishes and views of the woman.

“I will also be actively gaining the views of the women using our services as their voices are essential to improving the patient experience and ensuring we provide the highest standards of care.”

Ipswich Hospital’s Remembering Precious Babies bereavement support group meets on the last Tuesday of every month.