A few weeks have now passed since the “Better Together” conference held on the 17th March in Cardiff which has allowed some time for reflection on our first collaborative national maternity conference in Wales.
As the Maternity Network Manager, it was a real privilege to work in partnership with my colleagues in the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Certainly the months and weeks leading up to the conference were extremely busy and I learnt that organising a large event takes a lot of time, requires a huge amount of planning and most importantly cannot be done in isolation! It requires partnerships and good team work and the hard work of the Programme Support Team in 1000 Lives, RCM colleagues and key network members enabled us to achieve things together.
Essentially, as a conference planning team we were “Better Together”!
During the day, there was a positive energy and a real buzz of enthusiasm and commitment. Many colleagues I talked to on the day valued the contribution of speakers such as Dr Bill Kirkup, Professor Cathy Warwick and Professor Alan Cameron. People spoke to me of the value of hearing colleagues from the RCM and RCOG present the colleges’ collaborative work together and they also valued being at a multi-disciplinary conference where the focus was on maternity care, rather than midwifery or obstetrics in isolation.
Concurrent sessions were delivered by a midwife and doctor; obstetrician or anaesthetist, standing together presenting their work. The presentations were informative, interesting and inspirational. It seemed to me that the presenters were also “Better Together”.
Maternity Network Wales is now over a year old. I feel that the conference was a little bit like our first birthday party with lots of friends! We have developed strong relationships with the RCM, the RCOG, Health Boards, Universities and many other stakeholders involved in maternity services in Wales. We are committed to building and nurturing these relationships and developing new relationships that aim to work together to improve outcomes for mothers and babies in Wales. We know that positive, professional, collaborative partnerships create cultures where patient safety and quality improvement are central to the core value of the service. Without the foundation of a positive culture where different professions value each other, improvements in care will be difficult to achieve.
Let’s build on the values of the conference. Let’s be committed to all working together to create, maintain and nurture positive cultures that will be responsive and ready for quality improvement programmes that focus on patient safety and improved outcomes for mothers and babies. As the network manager, I commit that the network will continue to work in partnership with all those that either use or provide maternity care. Ask yourself, your team, your organisation – what will you commit to?
Remember, we are “Better Together”.