SERIES 3 EP.11: What women want: continuity of carer

In this episode of Midwifery Hour series three, Sue Macdonald, Curator, Maternity & Midwifery Festivals; Co-editor, Mayes Midwifery was joined by Stephanie Leach, Midwife, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and Helen Hunt, Continuity Care Midwife, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

This session shared continuity of care from a midwife and new midwives' perspective, illustrating some of the demands and challenges of this approach to care, the importance of planning, and of communication between the team.

Continuity of care; transforming maternity care for women, babies, and families. Continuity of care has been highlighted for many years as a tool to improve maternity care for mothers and babies since the work of Caroline Flint in the 1980s, and the Changing Childbirth Report in 1994 through to the Better Births and Transformation agenda.

Continuing research and evidence highlight the value of continuity of care, as an intervention that can improve care, reduce problems, and increase satisfaction with the service.

This episode of the Maternity & Midwifery Hour – proudly supported by MATFLIX – focused on What women want: continuity of carer

Host Sue Macdonald (Curator, Maternity & Midwifery Festivals; Co-editor, Mayes Midwifery) was joined by Stephanie Leach (Midwife, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust) and Helen Hunt (Continuity Care Midwife, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust).

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Helen Hunt

Stephanie Leach

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This weeks episode, hosted by Sue MacDonald, welcomed Continuity of Care Midwives Stephanie Leach and Helen Hunt.

Helen, who works in Team Sapphire which was launched in 2019, and Stephanie, who works in Team Pearl which was established in September, discussed their experiences as Continuity Midwives.

The Midwives in Team Sapphire and Team Pearl have complete autonomy, organising their own diaries and making their own decisions where possible. They are also free to make changes to the running of the Team where they see fit, like off-duty, to ensure the Team runs smoothly. Weekly team meetings give each midwife the opportunity to reflect on their week and what has worked and what hasn’t, bringing the group closer together, and to debrief on the women in their care.

Both Teams are made up of a variety of past community midwives and past ward midwives, which means that they can comfortably draw on each other’s knowledge when required. This is very important because the continuity midwife is the director of the woman’s care, making sure that all services and agencies are there for the woman and her baby.

There are also challenges as a continuity midwife, which was spoken about honestly. It is easy to put a lot of expectation on yourself to know everything, because you have a large scope of practice. It is very important to have strict time-off, be it annual leave or protected days off during the week, for the midwife’s own mental wellbeing.

Both Helen and Stephanie felt a great satisfaction for their work, developing appreciate relationships with women and their families, listening to them and providing them with the