Ask The Midwife is the UK’s first ever health advice app that has been created and run by registered Midwives. The Founder of Ask The Midwife, Hannah Harvey, talks exclusively to Global Village Midwives on how she came up with this innovative idea…
Firstly, thank you so much for inviting me to write a blog post about Ask The Midwife. I have worked in the NHS as a midwife since I qualified five years ago. In my experience, midwives are extremely passionate about their work and want to provide the best care they possibly can. However, working in the NHS sometimes means this is physically impossible due to high workloads and staff shortages. This was really hard for me and many other midwives to deal with because we care so much about the work we do.
Two years ago I became a caseload midwife for young parents. Case loading means a woman has the same midwife all through pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period. Working in this way opened my eyes to how amazing continuity of care is. Having the constant ability to have a midwife on hand whenever you need it really benefitted the families under my care. I knew there wasn’t a way for me to ensure every woman in the UK received continuity of care, but I started to wonder whether there was anything I could do to make sure everyone had the opportunity to speak to a midwife when they needed to. And this is how Ask The Midwife was born!
I wanted it to be a service for everyone, which they could access any time they liked, which is why I developed an app. It means that women and their families can download the app and speak to a midwife at the touch of a button. There are two services within the app. An ASK service, where users can ask a question and get a response from a midwife. This service was created for users who have a niggling question that can be answered with a single answer. The second service is a CHAT option, where the user can chat with a midwife via a message system for 10 minutes about any issues arising in pregnancy, birth and beyond. All the midwives will offer advice based on the latest, evidence based practice.
I am hoping that Ask The Midwife will make a big difference to women and their families during pregnancy and after their baby is born. Women and their partners or families can ask us about things that are bothering them and we will get back to them within an hour (with CHAT) or within four hours (with ASK). Ask the Midwife could reduce pressure on the NHS and midwives working in the community and triage. With the latest information and evidence on Saving Babies Lives and maternal outcomes from NHS England, I am also hoping that we can help women make informed decisions that could save their own or their babies lives, such as seeking help when they are experiencing decreased movement of their baby.
For the last 8 months I have been working hard to bring Ask the Midwife to life. The app will be launched in May and you can find out more my following us on Facebook (/askthemidwifeuk) Twitter (@askmidwifeuk) or Instagram (@askthemidwifeuk). The app is free to download but there are small charges associated with each service because the qualified midwives on board need to be paid for their time. Subscription services are also available. I have worked hard to make it affordable for everyone because I am passionate about maternity care, women’s experiences, and giving women and their partners the advice they need, when they need it. I expect Ask The Midwife to make a difference for lots of people. We have an absolutely fantastic team of midwives on board who are as passionate and driven as me… who cannot wait to get started and are looking forward to helping women and their families across the whole of the UK.