News posted 14 February, 2024

Specialist maternity services wins prestigious award after nomination from former patient

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A Manchester-based specialist maternity service that supports women who are at higher risk of having a preterm birth or a late miscarriage because of issues related to cervical weakness has won an award after being nominated by a past patient.

The Preterm Birth Prevention Clinic, run by Saint Mary’s at Wythenshawe Hospital, won the award at the UK Maternity Unit Marvels (MUM) awards ceremony hosted by the charity Baby Lifeline in London.








This event is designed to give parents and guardians the chance to thank the healthcare professionals who helped them through complications during pregnancy and birth.

Ghazia Saleemi, lead consultant for the service at Wythenshawe Hospital, attended the awards with her colleague Sarah Thomas, a Specialist Preterm midwife. Ghazia said: “We were told that there were hundreds of entries for the North West and our service was chosen!”

“This clinic is my own baby and I’ve watched it grow and grow since I started the service in 2017. Preterm Birth Prevention has only been recognised as a specialist service since 2019 which thankfully is changing now finding it’s place in many hospitals. It was a once in a lifetime experience for the clinic to be honoured at an event like this.”

Ghazia and Sarah have worked for the service for a number of years, identifying pregnant women who are at risk of delivering prematurely and managing patients who have had a previous preterm birth.

Ghazia added: “We now offer post-natal discussions with the women who have sadly lost babies due to prematurity. Here we can get an idea of what happened and, most importantly, what can be done differently if they would like to try to have a child again”.

“Until recently, this conversation was normally held by the consultant they were either booked under or whomever was on call at the time of the delivery. Now we can offer patients continuity of care from this post-natal debrief then throughout their next pregnancy – so naturally you build up a really strong level of trust”.  

Chantelle Burton, from Wythenshawe, was one of the first women who was offered a postnatal debrief by the team. Tragically, just 22 weeks into her pregnancy, she went into labour and their child was born sleeping.

She was referred to the Preterm Birth Prevention Clinic and was monitored closely. Here, they identified that during her first pregnancy, her cervix opened prematurely causing labour – which can be treated by inserting a stitch.

32 weeks into Chantelle’s second pregnancy, her waters broke, and her son Harrison was born on 30th April 2022. As this was a premature birth, Harrison spent 8 weeks in NICU, but is now healthy and happy at home.

Chantelle, aged 35, said: “The team was a constant support throughout the whole pregnancy, and we knew they were doing absolutely everything they possibly could.”

“Harrison is very cheeky and is such a personality! We always had in mind that we would have multiple children, so we are now looking towards adding another little one to our family”.

To thank the team for all their hard work, Chantelle nominated the Preterm Birth Prevention Clinic based at Wythenshawe hospital for the UK Maternity Unit Marvels award, where they subsequently won the award representing all services in the North West.

The ceremony was held in London, with a drinks reception at Downing Street, where hosts read aloud the journeys of other mothers across the country and celebrating the hard work of maternity services. Ghazia and Sarah were deeply moved to hear their story.

Sarah Thomas, Specialist Preterm midwife for the service, said: “To us, it’s just our job and you don’t realise how much of an impact you have until you hear the patient’s story out loud”.

“It means the world to look after patients like Chantelle, to get them through a difficult pregnancy and help deliver a baby at the end”.