Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is today celebrating International Day of the Midwife, recognising the invaluable care midwives provide to women and their babies.
Although the celebrations are different this year as teams across the hospitals go above and beyond to keep their patients safe in the current pandemic, staff are taking a moment to celebrate the 378 team members working in maternity services across the trust, including 240 midwives.
The team helped to bring 5,039 babies into the world in the last year at the trust’s hospitals in Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester, as well as in the community.
Jo Fairhurst, a midwife at Hampshire Hospitals, knows the importance of the care and compassion the team provide.
After training as a nurse and working in intensive care, Jo fell pregnant but sadly lost her baby, Daniel. Her experience reintroduced her to the world of midwifery and after returning to work, Jo retrained and qualified as a midwife in 1993, after the difference her own midwife had made helping her to get through such a difficult time.
Jo said: “Being a midwife is a privilege – I often say that when I help women at any stage of their pregnancy I’m not coming into work. Losing Daniel was one of the hardest things I have been through, but I have a lot to thank him for as it opened my eyes to a different part of healthcare, and means I can now help other women.
“The whole team is just brilliant and I feel really lucky to work alongside them all, making a difference to women’s lives. We all become nurses and midwives because we want to help people, and I see that in my colleagues every day.”
Julie Dawes, chief nurse at Hampshire Hospitals, said: “Our midwives and entire maternity team play such an important role not only in our hospitals, but in the lives of women and their families, providing expert care and support at some of the most special times in their lives.
“In the current situation our teams are faced with a new set of challenges, but they are going above and beyond to ensure that the women we care for continue to receive the same outstanding care as they bring their little ones into the world, even as the world outside continues to change.
“We are incredibly grateful for all that they do all year round, and are pausing today to say a special thank you to each and every member of our remarkable team.”
Hampshire Hospitals is using this day to remind pregnant women of the importance of contacting their midwife or maternity team if they are worried about their health or the health of their unborn baby during the current situation.
Kayleigh Lee is seven months pregnant with her second child, after having her daughter Sophia at Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester three years ago, and has needed to visit hospital three times during the pandemic. On International Day of the Midwife she is encouraging other women to make sure they continue to get help and come to hospital when needed.
She said: “The care I’ve received during each of these visits has been fantastic, thorough and completely reassuring. The staff are doing a fantastic job and I felt completely at ease. Precautions are being taken and I know I’m being looked after in the best way.
“The only clue that things are different this time around is that the staff are wearing personal protective equipment and even then you can tell they are smiling behind the masks! I wouldn’t hesitate or think twice about picking up the phone if I thought something might be wrong, and I hope other women do the same - the staff are still here to look after you.”
Kayleigh wanted to say a big thank you to the midwives who have looked after her. She added: “They are there for you at such an important time – it’s more than just a job, it’s who they are. I’m incredibly grateful to them all, and when we clap on a Thursday night we’re not only clapping for the staff who are looking after Coronavirus patients, but every member of NHS staff who is doing something amazing every day.”
The maternity team at Hampshire Hospitals are working hard to ensure women and their babies continue to receive the best possible care in the current situation. To minimise the risk to all patients, women who are well and require antenatal ultrasound services are being asked to attend appointments at the trust’s hospital in Andover.