The Chief Nursing Officer Health Care Support Worker (HSCW) award for Healthcare Support Excellence celebrates people who give consistently outstanding care recognised by patients, service users and colleagues alike.
In April, perinatal peer support workers at South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust were presented with NHS England Chief Nursing Officer Healthcare Support Excellence awards.
The national award recognised each one of the team of nine perinatal peer support workers for their excellent support to their nursing and midwifery colleagues, commitment to delivering outstanding patient care, and their ability to demonstrate leadership and quality improvement in their role.
Our dedicated perinatal peer support workers work as part of the perinatal peer support team, who support mums-to-be, their families and loved ones across Barnsley, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield, in the later stages of pregnancy and following birth, until baby is aged two.
Each support worker has lived experience of being unwell perinatally which is a vital part of the everyday work they do with their colleagues and patients. By bringing their unique experiences, and stories, our peer support workers help mums know that they are understood and not alone in their maternity journey.
Support is offered to mums in a variety of ways, including online peer support and walking groups, to sessions which focus on holistic recovery and wellness. One attendee said: “Fears are left at the door but are welcomed inside, caring hearts and understanding compassionate women run it. I can be me again, its ok not to have all the answers.”
Claire Lowe, perinatal service manager, who was behind the nomination said: “I am so proud of our perinatal peer support workers, they absolutely deserve this national recognition. They are dedicated to supporting women and their families, using their own experiences, which can sometimes be painful parts of their past, to help others through their maternity journey.
“In a short space of time, they have gone from a team of two, to nine people who have an honest and personal way of connecting with people in ways that others can’t. Everyone has a different experience of pregnancy and birth, which can be tough for many mums and families. Our perinatal peer support workers are committed to helping each one of their patients access the right care and support when they need it, helping people to recover and live well.”
Darryl Thompson, chief nurse and director of quality and professions, at the Trust said: “I would like to say well done to all our perinatal peer support workers, you bring your whole selves to work, using your experiences to help mums and families at a time when they can feel extremely vulnerable.
“You put the person first and are always looking at new ways to help people. It is fantastic to have such talented and dedicated people working with us.”
The awards were presented by Margaret Kitching, regional chief nurse, NHS England and Victoria Bagshaw, regional nursing and midwifery workforce lead, NHS England, in April. They said: “We are so proud to have committed and compassionate support worker colleagues, who play such a vital role in providing valuable care and support which makes a real difference to the lives of mums and families.”
If you are expecting a baby or have a baby under the age of two and think you may need support around your mental health, please speak to your midwife, health visitor or GP, who will be able to refer you to the right service to help.