Maternity Direct nominated for top national award

The new Maternity Direct service has been shortlisted for the 2011 Annual Midwifery Awards from the Royal College of Midwives.

The service was launched in conjunction with NHS South West Essex in July, allowing a woman to contact a midwife directly, as soon as she knows she is pregnant. As well as offering choice, self-referral to a midwife will give earlier access to maternity services. Credit-card sized contact cards and information leaflets are available from pharmacies, GP surgeries, children’s centres and libraries in the area.

The service is recommended in the Maternity Matters document from the Department of Health, and their Maternity Department has been shortlisted for an award for Implementing Government Policy. They will find out if we have beaten off the competition on Wednesday 19 January.

Sue Grace, Community Midwife Matron, developed and implemented the scheme and will be attending the awards ceremony in London. She said: “Maternity Direct has already proved very popular we have received 350 referrals in the first three months and this appears to be increasing month on month as more women are making the choice to self-refer. It is important pregnant women access maternity services as early as possible to get the advice and care they and their unborn baby needs.

“It has also proved popular with other hospital trusts who have called us for advice about how to implement the scheme. It’s great to be recognised for the award, because although we’re just following national policy, a lot of hard work has gone into developing the service. It has already proved such a success and whether we win or not, I’m so proud of the whole team.”

The news of the shortlist came after MP David Amess mentioned the terrific care his family received at the hands of a Basildon University Hospital midwife.

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