Health Minister praises overnight stays for birth partners

Friday 18 March 2016

Couple with their baby

Health Minister Ben Gummer MP praised the Maternity Unit at St Thomas’ Hospital for using patient feedback to make innovative changes as he launched a campaign to highlight how patients can improve the NHS.

Following feedback from new mums, reclining chairs were introduced on the postnatal ward to allow partners to stay overnight, with hundreds of families benefiting each month. Before the initiative, visiting was allowed only during the day and some patients said this caused anguish at what should be a joyous time. 

Since the initiative was launched, the number of women who would recommend the postnatal services at St Thomas’ has risen from 66 per cent to 90 per cent. There have also been other benefits such as an increase of women who are able to breastfeed successfully and a reduction in anxiety among patients.

Maternity staff review patient feedback through the Friends and Family Test, a quick and easy way for anyone to comment on their experiences of services across the NHS. 

Lynne Pacanowski, Director of Midwifery at Guy’s and St Thomas’, says: “We are very pleased to be able to welcome a partner to stay overnight on the postnatal ward. It’s so important that they can take part in caring for both mother and baby.

“This extra time spent with mum and baby can help family bonding and reduce anxiety and stress. This initiative was prompted by the feedback we received from our parents, including user members of our Maternity Service Liaison Committee, and has proved really successful. It’s definitely enhancing the care and positive experience we provide.”

Ben Gummer, Minister for Care Quality, said after visiting the postnatal ward: "I want the NHS to be the safest, most transparent and compassionate healthcare system in the world. Feedback from patients and staff is essential to improving care.

"The Friends and Family Test is an amazing operation across the NHS. With almost eighteen million responses since its launch in 2013, it has become the world’s largest and clearest source of how patients rate their care and experience.

“I urge all patients to help drive forward the NHS's culture of learning and improvement, by asking them to complete the test when they use an NHS service.”

Last updated: March 2016

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