Welcome to the first blog for Gloucestershire Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP)! It’s hard to believe how quickly the first 10 months in my post as Chair have flown by, but I’m really proud of what we’ve done up to this point and I know there is so much more to look forward to.


Building our MVP from scratch means it has been a busy but exciting year so far. From the launch of our website (www.glosmaternityvoices.nhs.uk), building a community of more than 400 people on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/GlosMVP) in just a few months and signing up more than 44 mums, dads, partners and professionals who are interested in getting involved with the group, it’s important to note just how much we have achieved so far. I’m so excited about the plans we have yet to come and meeting lots more of you.


It has been great to chat to new parents across the county and hear their stories, working together to share our experiences and help shape maternity services in Gloucestershire. It’s exactly why I took on this role; nobody is better placed to help make changes than us as parents and users of the service. My personal highlight so far was presenting to the Gloucestershire Hospitals Trust Board as part of their service user stories programme. It was a real privilege to be able to promote the MVP and to see how much our feedback is valued. A moment that will stay with me was when we hosted a coffee morning, not knowing how many people to expect, and we had to expand into a neighbouring hall to accommodate all the mums, babies and buggies! It was at that point I realised how important the MVP could be as so many of you really wanted to give your feedback and help other parents.


So, what comes next? In the immediate future, I’m really looking forward to very first Partnership meeting at Roots Community Cafe on 10th October. It’s an opportunity for you to just drop in for a chat, meet other parents, share experiences and grab a coffee on us. These events are a favourite of mine; partners and kids are welcome, so it is entirely possible that there will be a dozen or more toddlers/crawlers on the loose at any one time (including my hyperactive 21 month old)! If you don’t already ‘like’ us on Facebook, head on over to our page and let us know if you can attend.


In the longer term, we have plans for Facebook ‘Ask the Expert’ sessions, covering topics such as infant feeding, healthy eating and medicines during pregnancy. We will also be developing this blog, which will have regular contributions from me and other members of the MVP team, as well as guest posts from health professionals about specific topics..


If there’s anything in particular you’d like us to cover, just drop us a message on Facebook or on email, glccg.glosmvp@nhs.net. This group is for you, so please do tell us what would be useful and we’ll try to make it happen!


Emma x