Dr Andy Raffles, Consultant Paediatrician

As a health professional I warmly welcome the opportunity to contribute to this website. Anything which sets out to demystify, improve, and enable action on errors and mistakes, or examples of poor care is to be welcomed. Mothers' Instinct sets out to disseminate good practice and ensure implementation of such practice in local health care environments. This is in the expectation that the learning from such events, some of which are tragic beyond belief, can ensure similar events are not repeated, and learning is widely disseminated.

Sadly it is not uncommon for there to be a gap between a parent’s and child’s needs and expectations, and the abilities, facilities, and expectations of those entrusted with the care of a child’s health needs.

Where this occurs communication breaks down, and the result can be disastrous - or at the very minimum lead to an expression of dissatisfaction and even anger by families that care is not being appropriately provided.

Rarely is the gap between expected care and the actual delivery of care deliberate, usually the situation arises through poor communication, nil communication, flawed communication and miscommunication. Rarely does any one person deliberately set out to deliver poor care to anyone in their charge.

Mothers' Instinct is established to help empower parents in their communications with health care and other professionals, and sets out to open channels of communication, which to date have often been weak, frequently fragmentary, and often unreliable. Through the experiences of parents and carers Mothers' Instinct sets out to ensure improvements in the understanding of how, and why communication breaks down, and how this leads to impaired care, which can occasionally lead to disasters.

By bringing together parents and professionals to share constructively much of what can be learned, and usually is learned from such experiences, through case study, review of Adverse Incidents, understanding of the processes of investigation undertaken (which often excludes parents or carers until the end of an enquiry), must be better for our patients, parents and staff – all of whom usually set out to do their best for the patient.

In some cases flawed or even completely absent guidance has led to poor care, sometimes simply not knowing how to contact the ‘person in charge’ leads to breakdown in communication, and ultimately real or perceived poor care.

Mothers' Instinct has been set up to help all involved in the care of children to reduce barriers to communications to enable best care to be provided, and when, sadly this goes wrong, for there to be better communications in place, and better understanding for parents of what is happening both directly and behind the scenes.

By breaking down barriers, by learning from experience, and by being innovative through learning from sad events I hope all children and their parents, as well as staff, will benefit from Mothers' Instinct.