Continuity of Midwifery Carer (CoMC)
What is Continuity of Midwifery Carer (CoMC)?
We are rolling out a new way of working that will enable the same midwives to care for mums-to-be before, during and after their baby’s birth.
The CoMC initiative will see a small team of midwives following pregnant women through every step of their journey, building strong relationships with them and their families and providing seamless support from booking through to labour and postnatal care. This means women will always have a midwife who they know and trust, rather than seeing a different face every appointment.
Women may also need to see a range of other specialists including doctors, mental health professionals, allied health professionals or specialist midwives and nurses depending on their particular needs. All of this will be delivered within the new CoMC model and will require collaboration with the interdisciplinary and multiagency teams.
First to benefit from the new scheme will be Craigavon hospital area mums-to-be registered with GP surgeries in the Portadown, Lurgan and Craigavon areas. The new model will then be gradually rolled out across the Southern trust area, to benefit all local mums-to-be.
Continuity of Midwifery Carer is an exciting new way of working that will provide integrated, appropriate and seamless care for all women across the continuum of pregnancy, birth and early parenting period. The introduction of this innovative new model starts with the planned launch of the first team on Monday 3rd April 2023. When fully implemented this will become the standard model of maternity care in Northern Ireland.
The implementation of CoMC is as a result of policy announcements by the Department of Health and the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) publication of Future Nurse Future Midwife Education and Proficiency Standards recommending that maternity services in Northern Ireland should implement the Continuity of Midwifery Carer (CoMC) model; acknowledging that this will require significant transformational change.
Evidence from a number of studies tells us that providing your care this way is better for you and your baby:
- 7x more likely to be attended at birth by a known midwife
- 16% less likely to lose their baby
- 19% less likely to lose their baby before 24 weeks
- 15% less likely to have regional analgesia
- 24% less likely to experience pre-term birth
- 16% less likely to have an episiotomy
(Source: Sandal et al 2016. Cochrane review of 15 trials involving 17,674 women)
Meet the team
Maria Garvey, Lead Midwife
Maria Garvey, Lead Midwife
I have been a Midwife for many years working through all areas of Maternity and then as a Delivery Suite Sister in Craigavon Area Hospital. I moved out into Community Midwifery initially to Brownlow and then to Armagh and Dungannon. I became the Team Leader for Armagh and Dungannon in 2016 and was there until I took up my current role as Lead Midwife for Continuity of Midwifery Carer. (CoMC)
I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to lead on the Regional design and implementation stage of introducing CoMC on behalf of the Trust.
I am very passionate about CoMC as it will be a way of working within Maternity Services that will provide integrated, appropriate and seamless care for all women through their journey from pregnancy and birth to the early parenting period.
While all pregnant women need a midwife, many women will also need an obstetrician. Women may also need to see a range of other specialists including doctors, mental health professionals, allied health professionals or specialist midwives and nurses, depending on their particular needs. All of this will be delivered within the new model which I am delighted about the inclusiveness for all women.
Briege Agnew, Staff Midwife
I am delighted to be part of the first Continuity of Midwifery Carer team here in the Southern Trust.
Since starting with the trust 17 years ago, I have met many wonderful mothers and their families, and have cared for them during their birth.
As part of this new model, our small CoMC team will be able to provide midwifery care, dedicated to our caseload of women, from the start of their pregnancy, during their birth and postnatal period.
This will benefit women, not just with familiarity but improve their experience and build a relationship with their named midwife.
I started my career as a theatre nurse 21 years ago and moved into the profession of midwifery 3 years later, proudly following in the footsteps of the previous two generations of midwives in my family.
There have been many positive changes in midwifery care, I am looking forward to being part of this new change of care, and be able pass down a profession that is rewarding and valued.
Rebecca Barr, Staff Midwife
I have been a midwife for 7 years. I have worked within the delivery suite, the MLU and most recently the antenatal and postnatal ward in Craigavon Hospital.
Pregnancy and childbirth carry great excitement, as well as fears and uncertainty and continuity of carer and care can help aid this transition. I am so excited to be part of the first of these teams within the Southern trust.
Suzanne Mitchell, Staff Midwife
I trained as a midwife 2016-2019 in Queens University, Belfast.
I then began working in Craigavon hospital since October 2019 in a variety of departments providing antenatal, intranatal and postnatal care to women and their babies.
I have also completed masters modules to assist with the care of women with complex needs. Principles of critical care in midwifery and plan to carry on my learning and complete more modules this year.
I am looking forward to joining the continuity of midwifery care team in April and providing care to women and their families throughout their pregnancy and birth journey, and I believe that this new model of care will support women’s decisions, offering choice and support from a team of midwives they have built up a relationship or bond with throughout their appointments.
Grace Williamson, Staff Midwife
I started my healthcare career as a nurse in 2007. I have now been a midwife for 9 years. Midwifery is extremely rewarding and I feel very privileged to be with women and their families at such an important and special time in their lives. As its also a very vulnerable time for women I believe spending more time with them throughout their pregnancy, birth and postnatal period will help to improve their experiences, whilst building a relationship and rapport with them will help to make them feel more at ease. This is why am excited to be part of this new team.
Sarah Quaile, Staff Midwife
I have worked in maternity for more than 8 years and qualified as a midwife in 2018. I have had experience in all areas including MLU where I enjoyed providing aromatherapy to women. I recently completed the continuity module in Queens and am excited about starting with the team.
Sarah McFarland, Staff Midwife
I have been a midwife with the Southern Trust since 2017. I began my career as a maternity support worker in 2009 within the trust and I am thrilled to be part of the first continuity of midwifery carer team. I have been fortunate to work across the whole of maternity in Craigavon Hospital. I am excited to start offering holistic, dedicated family centred care focusing on developing a relationship between myself and the families I care for across the whole pregnancy continuum.
Gillian Coffey, Staff Midwife
I’ve been a midwife in the Southern Trust for 12 years.
I began my career as a nurse and worked in intensive care for a number of years. I enjoyed this and gained great experience, but midwifery was always my goal. I love my job. Even in it’s toughest times, especially those that we have all experienced over the last few years, I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be.
I am delighted to now be part of the CoMC team. Within this team, we will be able to offer dedicated support to women within the caseload right throughout their pregnancy, birth and postnatal period. The very definition of midwife is to be “with woman” and I feel that being in the CoMC team we are able to go right back to that core definition…being with women, offering them women centred, individualised care.
Rachel Graham, Staff Midwife
I began my career with the Southern Trust back in 2012 as a staff nurse. While I loved my nursing role, I always had a passion for midwifery and knew it was the path I wanted to go down. In 2015, I commenced my midwifery degree and have since been working as a midwife for the trust for 6 years.
Throughout my midwifery career I have worked with many women and their families, working across the antenatal, intranatal and postnatal wards as well as within the community team. While pregnancy and birth can be an exciting time it can also be a time of worry and uncertainty and I believe that working within this model of care we can improve women’s experiences and outcomes by developing close relationships with women and providing holistic care that is tailored to them.
I am honoured and privileged to join and be a part of this amazing team.
Vicky Moore, Maternity Support Worker (MSW)
My name is Vicky Moore and I am a Maternity Support Worker (MSW). I have 28 years’ experience in Maternity with 17 years in the hospital setting and 11 years in community which involved a local breastfeeding support group I facilitated every 3 weeks. I am a trained Maternity reflexologist and baby reflexology teacher. I have just undertaken my Hypnobirthing teaching training and am doing my baby massage teacher training in the near future. I am looking forward to continue to support and establish relationships with women and their families throughout pregnancy and postnatally in this role.