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Wigan health team named as UK Team of the Year
Tuesday 16th July, 2013

Wigan health team named as UK Team of the Year
Far left: Sponsor, far right: presenter. L-R: Joanne Brady (Public Health Midwife), Michelle Hartley (Public Health Midwife), Anne Allen (Midwifery support worker), Jaqueline Thomas (Speech and language therapist), Julie Middlehurst (Midwifery Support worker) and Judith Maher (office admin).

Wigan’s Integrated Health Service Team (IHST) has scooped a national award for its outstanding achievements and excellence in midwifery and partnership working.

The team, which is based at Platt Bridge Health Centre, received the Team of the Year award at the British Journal of Midwifery’s awards ceremony in London recently.
The award recognises the importance of teamwork in midwifery units or in the delivery of midwifery in particular, and the link between education, research and clinical practice in the delivery of a first-class service to women. The Wigan IHST was chosen by a panel of expert judges, including representatives from the British Journal of Midwifery and clinical experts within the field.

The IHST is a service commissioned by Wigan Council to meet the needs of the top two per cent of the most vulnerable pregnant women, and their families, across Wigan Borough. These are people who have complex social needs. The team provides holistic one to one support based on family needs, which is ongoing after the baby is born.

The multidisciplinary team consists of three midwives and two midwifery support workers, a speech and language therapist, a family support worker and admin support, and brings together professionals from WWL and Bridgewater.

Wigan Council Cabinet member for health and wellbeing, Cllr Keith Cunliffe, said: “This award is very well-deserved as the team has demonstrated the benefits of partnership working, by the results which have been achieved.

“The public health midwives and maternity support workers offer one to one antenatal care and education to the vulnerable families including breast feeding and stop smoking advice, and practical parenting sessions. They have seen an increase in the number of vulnerable women who choose to breast feed, an increase in babies being born at a healthy weight and very few premature births.

“Improvements in the home environment, reduced anxiety levels and an increase in engagement with support agencies, health services and local children’s centres have also resulted through the work of the team. All of this is excellent news for the people in Wigan Borough and the award will have put Wigan on the map amongst other professionals working nationally in this sector.”

The BJM Midwifery Practice Awards attracted a very high standard of entries in eight categories that defined the enthusiastic and hard-working individuals and teams in the profession. Running for the 10th consecutive year, the BJM Awards have become a prestigious and important part of the midwifery calendar in recognition of outstanding achievements in midwifery practice.

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