STAFF from across Bolton's maternity and neonatal departments joined colleagues from across Greater Manchester at the start of the month at the first maternity and neonatal conference hosted by Bolton NHS Foundation Trust.

More than 100 people heard from speakers about advancements in technology and practice, progression towards continuity of care for pregnant women and their families, and also from parents themselves on their personal experiences of care in Bolton.

The day was described as “an emotional rollercoaster” by one attendee, with staff from different teams and trusts sharing knowledge and hearing from leading experts in their areas.

Dad and stillbirth activist David Monteith shared his experiences of the stillbirth of his second daughter, Grace — a moving reminder of the impact health care teams have on families in care and the importance on appropriate and empathetic communication.

Among other speakers were leaders of the trust who presented the work the trust is doing to improve safety, enhance patient experience, and to take the small steps that make a huge difference to parents who are often very vulnerable.

Trust chair Donna Hall opened the event with her reflections on the importance of early years care, and how the first 1,000 days of a child’s life is vital to their future health and wellbeing. She told the group: “Your role in bringing these babies into the world is crucial. We’re really proud of everything you do every day.”

Ms Hall was followed by Dr Ian Dady, clinical director of the Connect North West Neonatal Transport Service — responsible for around 2,000 neonatal transfers per year and the busiest area in the UK. The service aims to reduce mortality and morbidity for extremely premature babies. The day concluded with a presentation by the parents of a little girl who was born prematurely at just under 27 weeks, six years ago. They highlighted the time and care taken by neonatologists to explain what to expect, how they made them as parents value their own health and wellbeing, and the importance of the support of the outreach team.