Following a recent catch up with Penny Brett (Head of Midwifery at Peterbrough Maternity Unit), I’ve been inspired to start a behind the scenes series. Although she’s not been in post long, she’s got to grips with a staffing issue and recruited a record number of Midwives in a matter of months. I asked her about how she’d done it…
How many new midwives have you recruited?
We have recruited 44 extra midwives at all levels of experience. They will work throughout the service and it means that we have 1 midwife to every 30 births (1:30). Our Community Midwives have had their caseloads halved so that they can spend more time with women in pregnancy and postnatal period and we also want to support more women to have a home birth. In the Unit, we have doubled the staffing on the birthing centre so that more women can access it. We have also doubled the staffing on transitional care to provide greater support to babies who need it. And we’ve increased staff on the Delivery Unit to provide one to one support in labour – midwives will no longer scrub in theatres. This will allow them to stay with women instead. And finally, we’ve increased the staffing on the postnatal ward to provide more support postnatally.
We have appointed two specialist midwives to work with women with mental health issues/ women with substance addiction. To back this up, we have also recruited more support staff so that midwives are not tied up doing non midwifery roles. All in all – better support – not only in women’s choices but in their care delivery.
How did you recruit so many midwives – where did they hear about your recruitment drive?
We recruited in national professional journals, job fairs and social media networks such including Facebook. Every time a midwife logged onto facebook our advert popped up. We also developed a microsite with extra info for interested candidates and a glossy magazine. We also advertised on Google. All strands were interlinked – we even advertised on the radio at the time midwives would be travelling to work.
How does this recruitment drive tie in with the opening of the new Unit?
All the midwives will have started before we move and will be orientated to the new hospital – so that’s when we are really going to see the benefit of the extra staff. It also means that we can start looking at new services such as we will be launching a maternity helpline which will provide one point of access to the service.
When do you move in?
The new Delivery Unit will open at 9am on 30th November 2010. We can’t wait!
Will women like the new Unit more than the old one? Why?
Definitely – it’s a case of working out what to tell you about first. The new unit is bright and airy with an atrium at the main reception – there will be a coffee shop as well as some retail outlets. All the delivery rooms are large with en-suites. There is a birthing pool. There is also a special birthing room for women with twins (it’s bigger and accommodates 2 resuscitaires). There will be four birthing rooms on the birth centre. The postnatal ward and transitional care ward is spacious with side rooms – the bays only have four beds but with a cross layout so really spacious.
What’s the biggest challenge facing your Unit over the next 12 months?
Moving to the new unit….
Interesting stuff isn’t it? It’s great to see the NHS responding to a challenge and being smart in their use of social media as part of their comms strategy. The sheer numbers of recruits demonstrates that it’s worked, which is great news for everyone in Peterborough and the surrounding area. I’ll keep you posted on their move as it happens.
What do you think Maternity Units could do more of to keep up with their users in the social media field? Should they be on facebook and twitter? How would they manage the comments they received? Would there be a tangible difference in increasing user numbers? How would they monitor it? What do you think of the NHS using social media?
Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts… And finally, if you’ve got a behind the scenes story to share, email me so we can feature you on the blog.