Local people open up about why maternity matters to them

Local people used their voices to speak up about why maternity matters to them and what they want to see from the teams working in hospitals, at a recent event hosted by University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT).

Maternity Matters in Morecambe Bay

The Maternity Matters in Morecambe Bay event in Lancaster at the end of January saw around 40 members of the public attending to speak to UHMBT staff and partner health organisations about their experiences of local maternity services, and how they want to be involved in the future of the service.

‘Conversation cafes’ where held where those that attended gave their honest and open views and opinions on their experiences and what they would like to see changed or done differently in the future. Some families were filmed sharing their experiences, which will be available on the Trust’s website.

The feedback, which is now being reviewed to make further improvements from the event was gathered in various different ways from notes written on table cloths and feedback forms, to a ‘Wall of Conversation’ that was produced by a graphic illustrator as people were talking.

Themes that were identified on the day included:

  • High quality information about pregnancy and birth
  • Advice on smoking, drinking and weight
  • Fitness and strength for pregnancy and birth
  • Clear and empathetic communication needed
  • Time to debrief after birth
  • Active birth rooms
  • Accommodation and facilities
  • Miscarriage support and compassion
  • Access to clinics
  • Visits to maternity ward
  • Planning and support for birth and postnatal period
  • Accessibility and consistency of services
  • Informed choices
  • Continuity of care


Sue Smith, Executive Chief Nurse, UHMBT, said “This latest event in Lancaster was another success for us as we were able to invite the public in again to tell us what they think and what they want to see in the future has been great.

“We are really pleased that even more mums, dads, families and friends, were able to take the time to come and talk to us honestly, and have their say. Not only did they let us know what is going right, but also what went wrong, so we can build on the feedback and make maternity services the best they can be.”

One attendee said “Having events like this that say ‘we want to hear your story’ are important for helping women feel listened to, especially at an often vulnerable time in their lives.”

Sascha Wells, Deputy Director and Head of Midwifery, UHMBT, said: “Hearing feedback from people in Barrow and now Lancaster gives us a true picture of how people feel about our maternity services – what they like and what they want us to do differently. Some of the stories we heard were very positive and there were others where we could have done better. It is this kind of honest feedback that makes a difference and helps us make further changes so we are delivering the kind of service that women and families need.

Healthwatch Lancashire attended the event and spoke to mums, dads, families and friends about their views and experiences of maternity services. Healthwatch Lancashire have been working along side University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay and The Maternity Services Liason Committee (MSLC) and speaking to mother and baby groups across Lancashire at “Care Circle” events.  These events are a unique approach to gathering feedback on health and social care services from people in Lancashire. Healthwatch Lancashire uses the information people share about services such as hospitals, GP practices, dentists, health centres, residential care homes and pharmacies to influence services and ensure that people receive the care they want and deserve. To find out more about these events, please click here. 

The video of the Lancaster event, which includes an interview with Healthwatch Lancashire Project Officer, Ilyas Patel, can be viewed by clicking here:


Maternity Matters in Morecambe Bay – Lancaster Listening Event from UHMBTv on Vimeo.

If you are interested in getting involved in maternity services at the Trust, please contact Nicola Bottomley on or 01539 715342.

The next Maternity Matters in Morecambe Bay event will take place in Kendal on Friday 20 May 2016. More details will be available soon.