Inspiring work by the Maternity Unit at Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals to improve local maternity services has been recognised by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Maternity (APPGM). From amongst 50 entries Ashford and St. Peter’swas chosen to be joint winners of an award for innovative services following developments at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) Bronzefield.

The citation for the Award in the category of Developing inclusive services for disadvantaged groups and communities saysthat ‘Ashford and St Peters Hospitals NHS Trust developed maternity services within HM Bronzefield Prison. This includes specialist midwifery care, obstetric ultrasound and high risk obstetric consultant care. Prior to this service, pregnant women within the prison received little or sporadic antenatal care and, in some case, none at all. Since the prison opened in 2004, the Head of Midwifery and the prison directors had regular meetings to discuss the care pathway for pregnant women in prison, and funding was finally obtained in April 2007’.

“I am delighted with this award which recognises nationally the excellent work undertaken by the staff within the maternity services,” says Eileen Nolan, Associate Director for Maternity Services at Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals and a practicing midwife. “In addition, it recognises the partnership working between the maternity service, the prison service and Surrey Primary Care Trust (PCT) without whom, this service would not have been possible. Previously many women did not get adequate care as there were not always available wardens to accompany them to the antenatal clinic at the hospital. Many of these women have underlying health problems when good antenatal care is even more important for the mother and baby.”

The reception was attended by nearly 200 politicians, leading health professionals and user representatives from maternity services across the UK. The Awards were presented by Health Minister Ann Keen MP and Emily Thornberry MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Maternity (APPGM), at the Atrium Restaurant, Millbank, London.

Emily Thornberry MP, Chair of the APPGM, said; “It is a great privilege to present these awards to such deserving and exemplary maternity units. All the entries were very impressive. The winning units are doing innovative work which will act as an inspiration to other Trusts.”

Mary Newburn, Head of Policy Research at the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) charity said, “We are celebrating the success of these awards as excellent examples of the good work that happens in local Trusts.”