New support worker service could help save babies’ lives

A new support worker service that could potentially save babies’ lives has launched in Birmingham.

Link support workers have been introduced by Birmingham and Solihull United Maternity and Newborn Partnership (BUMP) to help women vulnerable and disadvantaged pregnant women to access and use maternity services provided by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.

The support will also be available at Heartlands Hospital and other locations across the city.

Traditionally, women who live in areas of high deprivation and non-English speaking women are at a much greater risk of complications during pregnancy and birth. It is believed that this is because many do not have access to the right information in a format they can understand.

Link support workers encourage women to access their care early, help them to understand the wide range of choices that are available to them within the Birmingham and Solihull maternity system, and are on hand to attend clinics and provide essential information and support for these women.

The support extends through labour, birth and beyond, helping women to feel informed and safe. And as they see the same link support worker, the woman benefits from the advantages of continuity of carer.

Lola Sief is one of six link support workers and works alongside community midwifery teams at Heartlands Hospital.

She said: “This role bridges the gap for some women between them and their maternity care team. Women feel they have someone on their side to help them understand the information and to help them feel less alone when they go to appointments and classes. One lady rang me because she hadn’t felt her baby move and her mother in law told her to leave it for a few days. I was able to give her the correct advice and she came into the hospital to get checked out and her baby was ok.”

Carmel McCalmont, Director of Midwifery for BUMP said: “Lola’s story demonstrates the importance of providing women with the information they need in a format that works for them.”

Link support workers are based within Birmingham Women’s Hospital, Heartlands Hospital, Adderley Children’s Centre and the charity Bethel Doula.