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The Maternity project in the Thames Valley, in line with the HEE Mandate 2015/16, deals with the following issues: Perinatal mental health training for the maternity workforce as part of the provision of personalised maternity care and the role of the maternity support worker, preceptorship and recruitment and retention of midwives. The Maternity Care Workforce Steering group with representatives from the Thames Valley and Milton Keynes Universities, Maternity Units, TVSCN Children and Maternity and the Oxford ASHN Maternity support the programmes of work for the maternity project.

Perinatal Mental Health problems affect up to 20% of women at some point during the pregnancy and for the first year after birth, according to the the Falling-through-the Gaps report. It has been identified that the biggest barrier to providing better support to these women is the low level of identification of need. In order to improve this situation we are currently looking to develop a multidisciplinary training programme for perinatal mental health for the maternity workforce. We are part of the Thames Valley Perinatal Mental Health Network that was initiated in March 2015.

To improve Recruitment and Retention for both the Universities and the Trusts we funded the development of a video (please see below) to portray the realities of life as student midwife to aid potential students in their decision making whether a career in midwifery is the right choice for them.

Other locally funded projects include the development of an Obstetric Emergencies App, Mindfulness training for midwives and prospective parents, a multi-resource perineal repair training project, the development of a Birth Trauma educational DVD and a training programme for bereavement champions. 

To support the newly qualified midwives we organised a Preceptorship Workshop in 2014 which brought together the Maternity Practice Development Leads from Thames Valley. Following this a standardised approach to the Preceptorship programme has been adopted across Thames Valley and a Preceptorship Conference for new midwives was organised in April of 2015. The Practice Development Leads continue to meet on a regular basis to share best practice. The development of the role of the Maternity Support Worker is supported by the Care Certificate but will need further attention in future.

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