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UMHL team wins HSE Excellence Award for innovation to improve healthcare lavender clinic UMHL team wins HSE Excellence Award for innovation to improve healthcare lavender clinic

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UMHL team wins HSE Excellence Award for innovation to improve healthcare

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Maria Gibbons, Advanced Midwife Practitioner pictured wit the award as Lavender Clinic project wins UMHL first HSE Excellence Award

The Lavender Clinic project wins University Maternity Hospital Limerick its first ever national HSE Excellence Award

University Maternity Hospital Limerick has won its first ever national HSE Excellence Award for the development of a postnatal clinic that supports women who have undergone a traumatic birth experience.

The Lavender Clinic project won the national ‘Improving Patient Experience’ title in the awards, which honour examples of the great work across the health service, and encourage and inspire healthcare staff to develop and improve care and services for patients.

The Lavender Clinic is a multidisciplinary team (MDT) clinic to support women following a traumatic birth experience. It’s a weekly afternoon clinic held off-site, and since opening in April 2023 more than 50 women have been seen.

Leading the initiative is Maria Gibbons, Advanced Midwife Practitioner (AMP) and Dr Mas Mohamad, Consultant Psychiatrist of the Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service (SPMHMS) at UMHL; Dr Naro Imcha, Consultant Obstetrician and Clinic Director of Maternal & Child Health, UL Hospitals Group; and Emma O’Kane, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist. Those who meet the criteria for the referral-only clinic have access to obstetric debrief; physiotherapy assessment; birth reflection; and Birth Trauma Resolution (BTR) therapy; and liaison with consultant psychiatrist.

Maria Gibbons said, “The Lavender Clinic initiative came about from listening to our service users. The opportunity to be able to talk about their birth experience in a safe, protected space ensures that women and their partners will attend postnatal appointments and receive timely support, care and compassion from our integrated team of healthcare professionals.


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“We’re very proud of our HSE Excellence Award which will guide us in future planning of women-centred care and hopefully inspire our colleagues to showcase the wonderful work they are also doing every day.”

Dr Naro Imcha added, “We owe our service users our gratitude for their feedback, which made it possible for us to initiate this project. The Lavender Clinic is fully dedicated to moms and dads who have experienced trauma in their obstetric journey.  

“A multidisciplinary team of specialists have come together to provide this service to improve a whole range of better outcomes. This service also helps us to reflect on our practice, recognise and reform our service to make our patient experience even better.”

A diverse range of other innovative projects were honoured in this year’s awards, including:

Specialised home supports for people experiencing mental health crisis
New ways of working to support people with a rare disease
Improved efficiency on tracking available hospital beds and theatre time

Bernard Gloster, HSE CEO, commending the nominees, said, “The dedication and commitment to delivering high quality patient care is visibly demonstrated through this year’s entries submitted by staff around the country. Each project clearly reflects our core values of care, compassion, trust and learning. Well done and thank you to all those shortlisted as well as today’s winners. It is your work that helps pave the way to a brighter future for Ireland’s health service.”

Anne Marie Hoey, HSE National Director of HR, highlighted the positive outcomes achieved. She said, “As well as providing an opportunity to celebrate the great work of staff happening every day, the Excellence Awards are an important channel to share learnings with our colleagues across the health service. Through this pooling of knowledge and expertise, the projects inspire a sense of staff pride, teamwork and collaboration that help to shape the positive culture of our organisation. This will positively impact the overall environment for our staff whilst improving outcomes for the people who rely on our care and support.”

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