Over the last year, the three CCGs across Coventry and Warwickshire have spoken with almost 1000 mothers, mothers to be, families, carers, frontline NHS staff and community and voluntary sector organisations to learn about their experiences of receiving, delivering or supporting maternity and child health services.
There is a lot of good work happening across Coventry and Warwickshire to deliver maternity and child health services, but we recognise we can do more to continue to make these services better.
We are facing a number of challenges, however:
- How we provide services now won’t meet the expected demand and requirements in the future;
- Our services aren’t as efficient as they could be;
- Our services don’t always meet the needs of our population;
Before we could start thinking about how services might need to change to meet these challenges, we needed to speak with our population and those using these services to understand what their experience had been, what was important to them, what they thought worked well and what they’d like to see improve.
What we did
The engagement, led by the CCG Communications and Engagement team, looked to gather feedback from our population on maternity and child health services.
First, we did our research to understand what work had already been done at a national and local level to engage with people about maternity and child health. We reviewed feedback people had provided in previous engagement and looked at where we could learn new things and gather fresh insight. We wanted to avoid asking the same people the same questions again and again as we know they can find this frustrating.
We then identified our key audiences – those who are most involved with or most affected by maternity and child health services: mothers, mothers to be, carers, families, frontline NHS staff and community and voluntary organisations.
We looked at the best ways to involve these audiences in the engagement work: where could we find them? How could we make it easier for them to take part, and what was the best way of gathering their feedback? We adopted a mixed approach to engagement, conducting face to face sessions either one to one or in groups; we took part in telephone interviews and offered an online and paper survey for people to complete.
We worked with local children’s centres and hospitals to go out and meet people on their terms and in surroundings they felt comfortable in to help us:
- Listen to their experiences of receiving, supporting or delivering these services;
- Acknowledge what they think works well currently, and see how we can build on it
- Understand what they think needs to improve and look at changes we can make to meet their needs
Once we had gathered a significant amount of feedback, we started to see common trends and themes in the feedback, so we began a process of gathering the feedback under a number of key headings such as “access” and “person-centred care”, based on what people had told us. Once this was complete, we went out and spoke to people again to make sure we were on the right track, check that our suggested themes still reflected what they had told us and to see if there was anything else they wanted to add. Everyone we spoke with agreed that the themes were the things that were most important to them, and that they appreciated being involved so heavily in the development of the themes, which was really positive.
Throughout our engagement we had spoken to a wide variety of the population including those from seldom heard and hard to reach communities, but we recognised there were more opportunities to speak with people from these groups to ensure their voice was heard.
To address this, we looked at the data of who we had already spoken with, identified groups or communities where additional feedback would be valuable and then set out to do further engagement with them. This approach enabled us to speak with over 200 people from a variety of groups and communities who might have otherwise struggled to have their say:
- People living in communities with high levels of deprivation;
- Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups, with particular focus on refugee and asylum seekers;
- Teen parents;
- Parents of children with additional needs;
- Rural communities;
- Fathers and male carers;
- Gypsy/traveller communities;
- Vulnerable young parents (i.e. those suffering abuse).
Who we worked with
We were very lucky to be supported by a number of local community and voluntary sector organisations, parent and toddler groups, refugee centres, and children’s centres, which helped us reach more people than we would have been able to alone:
- Camp Hill Children’s Centre
- Archie’s Smile
- Atherstone Parent and Toddler group
- Boughton Leigh Children’s Centre (Barnardos)
- Bulkington Disability Sports Session
- City Pink
- Claverdon Parent and Toddler Group
- Coventry and Warwickshire Friend/Stonewall
- Coventry and Warwickshire MIND (Mums in Mind)
- Coventry Comfort Carers
- Coventry Haven
- Coventry Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement
- Coventry LGBT
- Coventry Prism
- Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre
- Edward St Community Centre
- Entrust Care Partnership
- George Eliot NHS Trust
- Healthwatch Coventry
- Healthwatch Warwickshire
- Kairos – Women Working Together
- Kingsway Children’s Centre
- New Family Social
- Parents in Mind (NCT)
- Pathlow Traveller site
- Pink Parents
- Proud2b Parents
- Queen’s Rd Baptist Church
- Rainbow Families
- Riversley Park Children’s Centre (Barnardos)
- Roots to Branches Autism Network
- Rugby Young Parents Group
- St Margaret’s Church
- Stratford Children’s Centre
- Stratford upon Avon LGBT
- South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust
- The Parenting Project (Stratford District)
- The Roma Project
- The Ups of Downs
- Tredington Traveller site
- University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust
- Valley House
- Warwickshire Gypsy and Traveller Support Service
- Warwickshire Pride
This engagement has helped us identify what matters most to people when it comes to maternity and child health services, which has been summarised below. Our targeted approach has meant that the feedback has come from those most involved in or affected by these services. Our additional engagement with seldom heard groups has made sure our work is as robust and inclusive as possible.
Overall we have spoken to almost 1000 people about their experiences and feedback on maternity and child health services. There were some really positive, inspiring stories of excellent care and support being offered to people, and some less positive ones of how services hadn’t met the needs of that individual or family. With all this in mind, we can begin to consider how our maternity and child health services can build on the good work already taking place and work to improve services to meet the needs of our population in a consistent, safe, equitable way.
Now that we’ve gathered all this really useful feedback, we need to work with our local providers and public to think about how maternity and child health services might need to change to meet the needs of the people living in Coventry and Warwickshire and meet national and local guidance.
This is just one part of an ongoing journey and we want to bring you with us every step of the way. There is still a lot to talk about and there will be plenty of opportunities to shape and influence the future of maternity and child health services.