At the end of September staff from the Neonatal Unit (NNU), Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU), Theatres and Maternity worked with patients to successfully explore ways to improve patient experience, using an innovative workshop approach – ‘Whose Shoes?’

The aim of the workshop is to partner with seldom heard women and families to share perspective through the use of an engaging board game.

St George’s was recently selected as the first tertiary Maternity pilot site for the Nobody’s Patient Project. The project is one of three to receive funding as part of NHS England’s #MatExpChallenge Fund in response to the National Maternity Review and other service reviews.

The concepts captured at the Whose Shoes event are shared through design and attendees agree a set of pledges that support change and drive innovation. The workshop and pilot focused on three specific groups of patients: mothers who lose their babies during pregnancy (mid-trimester loss), babies who are the smallest and sickest babies including those that are born prematurely and cared for on the NNU, and mothers who require critical care treatment on theHigh Dependency Unit.

Several service users attended including the parents of a baby who is still on NNU. Leigh whose son Hugo was born at St George’s in 2014 also attended. Leigh’s pregnancy was complicated by severe preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. Everything possible clinically was done to save Leigh’s life and to give Hugo the best possible chance. Sadly, Hugo died when he was 35 days old. Leigh’s experiences of being a patient with an unwell baby assisted with developing the workshop and pledges.

Sue Hendy, Director of Midwifery, said: “The Whose Shoes concept is a valuable way of understanding the patient and carers experience and also that of staff. It enables services to develop practical, deliverable changes that really enhance patient experience such as enable women in ITU/HDU to have face time during neonatal ward rounds. Staff satisfaction is also improved with the knowledge that they are providing responsive, compassionate care.”