Tuesday 22 August 2017 08:06:12 AM

Downpatrick Midwifery Unit Wins National Award
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Maternity services in the Downe Hospital have won a top UK award for their innovative work to improve maternity services and for their staff engagement activities.

A spoksperson for the South Eastern HSC Trust said that staff from the Midwifery-Led Unit in the Downe Hospital were awarded the Royal College of Midwives’ Mothercare Maternity Service of the Year Award at a ceremony recently held in London. The awards hosted by the Royal College of Midwifery, is a prestigious event recognising excellence in maternity services across the United Kingdom adding that the unit opened in 2010 and has now become an established part of the community.

The Downe Hospital Midwife-led unit is celebrating after winning a national award.

The Downe Hospital Midwife-led Unit is celebrating after winning a national award.

The number of births have risen from 55 to just over 100 after three years. However, it is important to remember that the midwives deliver care not only during the birth in the unit, but also antenatally and postnatally to all women in the area.  The unit offers choice to those women who have no medical risk factors.  It comprises three fully equipped rooms, each with its own en-suite facilities and birthing pool. Modelled on the Home from Home Unit at the Ulster Maternity Hospital, it has the capacity to deliver over 300 women a year.  The unit already offers antenatal and postnatal care, as well as a Day Assessment Service, Breastfeeding Support, Parentcraft and active birth classes.

Delighted on receiving the national award, Eileen McEneaney, Assistant Director of Woman and Child Health said:  “The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust congratulates the local midwives who work tirelessly to provide this exceptional service for women and their families in the Downe Hospital. The National RCM Maternity services award recognises the huge commitment of the midwifery team in establishing and developing this wonderful local service. The Trust is very proud of the Midwives in the Downe Midwifery Led Service and fully supports the team and the service. It is essential that this high quality and nationally recognised service is used by women in the area.”

Teresa McDowell, Sister in Downe Midwifery Led Unit added ‘We are delighted and honoured at receiving this prestigious award which is recognised across the United Kingdom. It is a tribute to the midwives and an acknowledgement of the innovative services we provide to women and their families in the local area.   We would like to take this opportunity to thank the GP’s and the local community who have supported us to date and ask for your continued support in the future in order to build on our success’.

Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “To win an award is a real achievement. For three maternity services to each win first place is unprecedented and a real accomplishment.

“Without midwives, their teams and colleagues from other health professions pushing at the boundaries of practice we would not see the care they are able to give to women, babies and their families improve and move forward. These innovations in action have helped maternity services in Downpatrick, Forth Valley and East Lancashire deliver safer, better and continually improving care.

“I congratulate these three services on this unique achievement and thank them and their colleagues for their dedication, skill and commitment to serving, mothers, babies and families.”