Dr Cathy Rhodes leads a team of midwives and doctors who care for women with high-risk pregnancies at Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield. Many of the women in her care also have mental health problems.
A perinatal mental health clinic runs alongside the antenatal clinic with specialist midwives lending extra support and coordinating care plans. Cathy performs regular scans and sees women personally for antenatal care before delivering the babies herself, frequently by Caesarean section.
Cathy developed the Mental Health Clinic with the midwifery team when she began her consultant post four years ago. An audit showed that up to 20 percent of women reported mental health problems at booking. But no service existed to cope with their extra needs.
New services have traditionally been led by consultants, but midwives at the Good Hope Hospital site have played a vital role in developing and ensuring the success of the project, says Cathy. Women can ring up outside clinic hours and there is direct access to the ward if needed. The midwives know they can contact Cathy about patients at any time. One of the clinic's aims has been to remove traditional barriers to accessing services; they wanted to create an open, non-judgmental service with excellent continuity of care.
Cathy and her team have been widely praised for their "kindness, care and professionalism". The patient who nominated Cathy for this Dignity in Care award wrote: "Dr Rhodes made me feel as though I was being looked after every step of the way. She kept a close eye on me and explained everything in a fantastic way and even did my C-section. She gave me first class care. She is a wonderful doctor and a really caring person."