03 / 02 / 2009
NHS West Midlands
University Hospital of North Staffordshire
There is already considerable interest in the use of complementary therapies as part of good clinical midwifery care. At the Maternity Unit of the University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Stoke, the value of offering these therapies to staff is also being explored.
Staff at the Unit include midwives who have trained in reflexology, aromatherapy massage, and homeopathy to extend their care for women. The Deputy Head of Midwifery proposed to senior managers that it should also be possible to make the therapies available to staff, for free. It was agreed that the midwife/therapists could set aside some time whilst on duty each week for treating other staff. Staff pre-book times, and the therapies are provided in a room equipped with a couch and accessories. Predictably, demand for treatments has outstripped supply - even with 6 midwives now involved as trained therapists. The service is offered to midwives and all staff within the Obstetric & Gynaecology Directorate: during 2004 around 25 staff have taken advantage of the service, each receiving follow up appointments as required.
The results and next steps
It is proposed to monitor sickness rates to see what effect offering the complementary therapies may have. In the meantime, the initiative has produced a positive response from staff, and allows the therapists to develop and improve their skills. It is part of a wider programme of staff involvement and welfare that ranges from including midwives in discussions about the future shape of the service through to a sandwich trolley coming round for use by staff who are too busy to go the canteen.
For further information please contact Chris Thomas, Deputy Head of Midwifery.