Louise Slater a midwife working in the drug services and Natalie Woodruff a Perinatal Mental Health Midwife at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, otherwise known as (ELHT) have been given an award for the creation which supports and helps women who are at risk of being separated from their baby at birth. They were awarded a National Safeguarding Star for Outstanding Practise from NHS England.
Natalie and Louise have both been adamant that something should be put in place to ensure that support is provided to those mothers who are at risk of being separated from their babies at birth due to a court decision. They have been instrumental in implementing HOPE boxes at ELHT.
They have both expressed that these boxes are for families to capture important memories prior to the separation and encourage ongoing connection and association between them and their baby post-separation.
Natalie and Louise were presented their award for outstanding practice by the associate director of safeguarding for NHS England Catherine Randall. Catherine said “It was an absolute pleasure and privilege to honour Louise and Natalie with a National Safeguarding Star in London at the HOPE box celebration.
“NHS Safeguarding which sits as part of the Nursing and Midwifery directorate of NHS England awards outstanding safeguarding practice for those colleagues that go above and beyond.”
“Louise and Natalie both demonstrated compassion, kindness, care, and safeguarding excellence for women at their most vulnerable and these HOPE boxes will support women and families for the future.”
Natalie expressed gratitude by adding “We are absolutely thrilled to have our work acknowledged at a national level.
"Louise and I are passionate about using these boxes as a tool to help parents grieve their immediate loss and acknowledge their parent identity and it provides them with some control that many of these parents perceive as a traumatic and dehumanising experience.
“We have developed a steering group with Midwives in other Trusts to promote these boxes and we are aiming for them to be standard in all Trusts for women at risk of separation at birth.”