A Hywel Dda University Health Board maternity team have been recognised for their work in tackling inequalities and improving maternity care for pregnant women with learning disabilities and difficulty with everyday activities.

Having developed a Maternity Passport for the Hywel Dda Health Board to ensure the individual needs of the woman were understood and that reasonable adjustments were implemented, the team decided to widen their approach to tackling inequalities.

Adding an additional question to the revised all Wales Maternity Handheld Record, they began asking all women what communication support they needed when using the maternity service.

By asking all women inclusively, the team says it ensures that every woman using their maternity service has the opportunity to discuss reasonable adjustments to their care.

The Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for Wales and the Royal College of Midwives Wales (RCM) Quality Improvement award for 2024 had “many worthy nominees” the RCM said, but it was this initiative from Hywel Dda that has been recognised with the award.

The team which took the award are Cerian Llewelyn, Lead Midwife for Risk and Governance; Faith Worrall, Clinical Supervisor for Midwives; Tipswalo Day, Obstetrician; Sarah Burton, Specialist Public Health Midwife; Elizabeth Rees, Consultant Midwife; and Rebecca Hall, Maternity Service User Experience Midwife.

RCM’s Director for Wales, Julie Richards said: “The maternity team at Hywel Dda works in a positive culture, tackling improvements head on.

“They also take time to learn and train together considering inclusivity which is fundamental to improving multidisciplinary teamwork.

“All of this improves the quality of care they can deliver to women and their families using the service.”

Sue Tranka, Chief Nursing Officer for Wales, said: “We are committed to delivering continued improvements across maternity and neonatal services in Wales and ensuring everyone can access equitable, high-quality care.

“We congratulate Hywel Dda on their multidisciplinary team working, engagement and co-production with families in developing this excellent tool.”

Karen Jewell, Chief Midwifery Officer for Wales added:“It is wonderful to see Hywel Dda’s initiative included within the All-Wales Maternity Handheld Records and shared as best practice with other services across Wales.”

Kathy Greaves, Head of Midwifery for Hywel Dda said: “I have immense pride in the teams dedication to addressing health inequalities for the women, birthing people and families of Hywel Dda.

“I would like to acknowledge the bravery of those affected by the inequalities who have supported the team.

“The impact is palpable.”