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‘Team of the year’ and research awards for Maternity teams

Maternity teams who cared for a young woman who received a terminal cancer diagnosis during her pregnancy and who have supported life-saving research into group B Strep infection in newborn babies, have been recognised with awards.

The Maternity team at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) have come away with two awards at the South East Perinatal Learning and Sharing Event, for ‘Maternity team of the year’ and the other for ‘Excellence in perinatal education, learning and research’. The event on Tuesday 6 June was organised by Kaye Wilson, South East Regional Chief Midwife, and brought together representatives from across the region.

The team were nominated for the ‘Maternity team of the year’ award for supporting a woman who received a terminal cancer diagnosis during her pregnancy and was given only four weeks to live. The woman and her partner decided they would like to marry, and the team quickly set to work contacting local businesses asking for donations to make this happen. They were able to source flowers, a cake, food and drink, decorations and a photographer, and even organised for a selection of wedding dresses to be brought into the Hospital for her to try. Shoes and a tiara were sourced and a veil was donated by one of the midwives who had bought it for her own upcoming wedding.

Shortly after the ceremony their baby was born, and the team continued to support the couple in making the most of their time together as a family, while ensuring that the mother was as comfortable and in as little pain as possible. Sadly, the mother passed away soon after, and two members of the MTW team were honoured to be invited to give a reading at the funeral. Rachel Thomas, Director of Maternity said: “The whole team demonstrated enormous compassion, empathy and provided person-centred care in very challenging circumstances and during a very emotional time. Every member of the team expressed how this event had touched their lives in some way.”

The Maternity research team were nominated for ‘Excellence in perinatal education, learning and research’ for the work they have done to support research into group B Strep in pregnant women, which is the most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies in the UK, and has led to 80% of eligible women now being offered the test for group B Strep. The team have already been recognised with an award from the National Institute for Health and Care Research Network for Kent, Surrey and Sussex, whose judging panel said that “A huge amount of hard work was put into delivering the trial 24 hours a day and the trial was a success because these teams embraced research, on top of their busy workloads. Their commitment to the study has been astounding, and it will make a huge difference to mothers and babies in the future.”

Susan Powley, Interim Head of Midwifery, commented that she was “absolutely thrilled that the team have been recognised for their dedication to providing outstanding care to mothers and newborns. While only a few representatives were able to attend the event itself, it’s worth noting that they were accepting both awards on behalf of the whole team, who worked so hard to make this possible.”