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Healthwatch ‘positive’ after visit to maternity unit

Wednesday, 10 July 2024 16:25

By Shelagh Parkinson

A health watchdog has delivered a positive verdict on maternity services in Blackpool after visiting the unit and speaking to patients.

Healthwatch Blackpool, whose role is to champion the needs of patients, picked out only a few points for improvement – including provision of better food for women who have recently given birth.

Members of the team spoke to 17 patients and 10 relatives during a visit in March to one of the maternity unit wards and the Fylde Coast Birth Centre at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, as part of the Maternity Voices Partnership.

A report from the visit was presented to the latest meeting of the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust board of directors held on July 4.

The report says the visits to both the ward and birth centre resulted in “an extremely positive experience” with staff described as “kind and welcoming”.

Referring to the birth centre, the report says: “Feedback from patients demonstrated staff are delivering a high quality of personalised care.”

It also says: “The building was extremely clean and representatives observed a calm and welcoming atmosphere. The environment was tidy and bright, with all facilities and equipment organised well.”

But it adds: “The main areas for improvement related to the quality of the food, the display of information on a notice board and signage when entering the building.”

Concerns were raised that an obscured sign at the out-of-hours entrance meant patients may not know where to go, while a noticeboard was needed to offer information about local support classes and activities.

Referring to a visit to Ward D, the report said many patients and relatives who spoke to Healthwatch reported “an overall excellent quality of care” and praised a scheme which allows partners to stay on the ward.

The main areas for improvement related to providing secure lockers for patients to store their belongings in each cubicle.

The report to the board of directors included responses by maternity bosses to the points raised by Healthwatch, saying these would be attended to.

The Maternity Voices Partnership is aimed at ensuring patients’ voices are heard when it comes to making key decisions about services.

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