Upcoming Event from Wirral’s Maternity Voices Partnership

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My name is Victoria and I am the Chair of Wirral’s Maternity Voices Partnership. I have previously met Sara at one of our Listening Events. 

The group replaced the Maternity Services Liaison Committee in August of 2018 and launched in October 2018. A maternity voices group are a part of the National Maternity Voices, the national group of Maternity Voices Partnerships in England. A Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) is a NHS working group: a team of women and their families, commissioners and providers (midwives and doctors) working together to review and contribute to the development of local maternity care. 

I am not a medical professional, I am a mum to Patrick who was born at 31 weeks gestation at Arrowe Park Hospital, Wirral and a supply primary school teacher. Patrick (or Paddy as we call him) spent 6 weeks in the Neonatal Unit at Arrowe Park and 1 week at Alder Hey hospital. I joined a peer support group called Neonates during Patrick’s time in hospital and remain a part of it today. Patrick is now 2 and half and thriving. The Neonatal Team at Arrowe Park encouraged me to speak publicly about my experiences as a mum of a neonatal baby. During these events I met with other professionals who then encouraged me to Chair Wirral’s Maternity Voices.

An MVP creates and maintains a co-production forum for maternity service users, service user advocates, commissioners, service providers and other strategic partners. Members and the collective forum operate on the following founding five principles:

  1. Work creatively, respectfully and collaboratively to co-produce solutions together. 
  2. Work together as equals, promoting and valuing participation.  Listen to, and seek out, the voices of women, families and carers using maternity services, even when that voice is a whisper. Enabling people from diverse communities to have a voice.
  3. Use experience data and insight as evidence.
  4. Understand and work with the inter-dependency that exists between the experience of staff and positive outcomes for women, families and carers.
  5. Forensic in the pursuit of continuous quality improvement with a particular focus on closing inequality gaps.

Wirral Maternity Voices is hosting Wirral’s First Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week Event. This will be taking place at Hope Church, Hoylake, Wirral on Tuesday 30th April 10am-6pm with speakers/demonstrations in both the Large Hall and the Small Hall simultaneously. 

Globally, the day is being campaigned by The Blue Dot Project (https://www.thebluedotproject.org/mmhweek2019). The annual maternal mental health awareness social media campaign was launched in 2014 to reach mothers, families and the general public with messages acknowledging how difficult motherhood can be. This includes addressing the fact that maternal mental health disorders, like postpartum depression, impact up to one in five women, and that therapy and other forms of treatment can help. The aim is to combat stigma and shame, and to empower mothers and families to advocate for support and care when needed. Here in the UK, the day is being campaigned by The Perinatal Mental Health Partnership (https://www.facebook.com/pg/PerinatalMHPartnershipUK/about/?ref=page_internal). 

I have been supported by a group of incredibly inspirational women to organise this event. These women will be speaking on the day and/or giving free demonstrations. They are as follows:

Other parties also speaking an/or giving demonstrations on the day will be:

  • Jenny Ball – Life Coach
  • Niaomi Raselli  – Mindfulness Painting
  • Carl Grainger – Virtual Reality Relaxation
  • Katie Taylor Smith – Hub for Wellbeing
  • Rhythm Time
  • Ruth Grint – Carrying Concepts
  • Hannah Horne – Perinatal Mental Health Midwife Arrowe Park Hospital
  • Dr. Emily Astley – Psychologist – Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Team Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust
  • Dr. Jane Wilkinson – G.P. Champion for Sexual Health

As you can see it is going to be a jam-packed day all free of charge. I have no budget and must mention that Hope Church are giving us the venue free of charge because they value the importance of trying to de-stigmatise mental health and show what support is out there for families to access.


Victoria Walsh

Chair – Wirral Maternity Voices Partnership in Partnership with Maternity Services Providers from Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group

“Alone we can do so little: Together we can do so much” – Helen Keller

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