Big thank you from

Jenny Monroe talks to Zoe Boreland,
lead midwife Lagan Valley Hospital

Zoe BorelandZOE Boreland" from Hillsborough, is lead midwife at Lagan Valley Hospital where she has worked for 22 years. The South Eastern Trust had planned to end all maternity services at the Hospital" but after an unprecedented campaign against the proposals led by the Star and Lisburn Council, the Trust responded by amending its proposal that while obstetric inpatient services would still be transferred" a Community Midwifery Unit would be established ensuring that women who were expected to have trouble free births could still do so in the Lagan Valley.

I am awake from 7am" organise myself and drive to work for around 8am. As well as working in the Lagan Valley Maternity Unit I am also responsible for managing midwifery services in Downpatrick and the North Down and Ards community area.

I go to labour ward and meet with the senior midwife on duty. We discuss what has been happening since I was last there" review staffing and see what is likely to happen during the day. I discuss any issues or problems but I am not directly involved in caring for women within the unit" this I leave to my dedicated team of midwives" my role is to oversee the overall management of the service.

Then I walk around the ante and post natal wards, meeting with the midwives again to discuss the women currently in the unit and give advice if required. I generally have a number of meetings to attend both inside the hospital and at other locations within the Trust. I also go through my emails.

In my professional capacity I make sure all the midwives are competent in what they do. I'm there to make sure they have their training up-to-date and I work alongside medical staff reviewing policies and guidelines to maintain good standards of care.

There has been a recent programme around domestic violence and" in partnership with Womens Aid" training was provided for the midwives to help them discuss this problem with women and provide them with help and support

In my managerial role I am responsible for making sure the service operates effectively and I link closely with managers across the Trust. I also work closely with my medical colleagues in the hospital" meeting with them regularly" and also with local GPs.

My main focus at present is the future of the Lagan Valley maternity unit and we are currently developing a business case for a midwife led unit which will provide a first class facility for women to give birth in. We are also trying to make the public more aware of the role of the midwife and that as long as a birth is straightforward" as most of them are" a doctor is not required to attend. Mother and baby can be cared for very safely by the midwives. Of course we are not forgetting the many women who will not be able to give birth in a midwifery led unit and I am working with senior managers at the Ulster hospital and other adjacent units on our plans for the future and with our PR department to make sure information gets out to the public. Lagan Valley has a long established Maternity

user group made up of women who have used the service or have an interest in maternity. I meet with them regularly to get user feedback and discuss the important issues and they will be heavily involved in deciding what the new unit will look like.

I also work with lead midwives from other Trusts and discuss regional initiatives" making sure a high standard of care is available all over Northern Ireland. I am also responsible for the gynae ward in Lagan Valley and a year ago we opened a new eight bedded ward. This provides a great personal service for the women with dedicated staff and I usually try to visit the ward every day to meet with the ward manager and staff.

I leave work about 6.30pm and head home to spend time with my husband and family and generally relax.

Ulster Star