Contraception Champions exemplar scoops patient impact award


A Bevan Commission-supported initiative to improve the counselling and delivery of postnatal contraception at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (UHB) has received the health board’s first patient impact innovation award.

Announced on 3 September, the Betsi Cadwaladr UHB Research and Innovation Excellence Awards recognise research stars from different stages of their career from a range of specialities, covering research into contraception to oncology.

The Contraceptive Champions team, which includes Dr Anu Ajakaiye (ST3), Dr Noreen Haque (ST6), Dr Maria Kaloudi (ST5), and Dr Ruth Roberts (Consultant) from the health board’s Obstetrics and Gynaecologist department, were joint winners of the Patient Impact Innovation Award. They were supported by the Bevan Commission’s Exemplar programme to develop and test their postnatal contraception training programme in their unit.

Guidelines recommend that contraception should be discussed during pregnancy and following birth, since there is evidence showing women can be put at increased risk of complications when there are less than 12 months between pregnancies. These range from low birth weight, pre-term birth stillbirth and neonatal death.

Yet research carried out by Dr Ajakaiye and her colleagues found that only half of antenatal and postnatal women recalled discussing contraception with their health professional, with only one woman leaving the unit with contraception. This is not an isolated issue, looking at research conducted outside the health board, the team found one in 13 women generally fall pregnant within a year of giving birth.

To address this, and with support from the Bevan Commission, the team set out to provide formal standardised training to all clinical staff to improve counselling skills, developing their role as contraception champions . They also provided staff with the tools to ensure safe prescribing of contraception alongside more reliable and accessible information for patients about contraception choices.


The initiative resulted in 47% of women being discharged with a suitable form of postnatal contraception, increasing from 0.5% over 6 months. It also delivered more than £16,000 in savings to the health board through the delivery of more cost-effective and targeted training, which was attended by 90% of staff.

Since completing the Exemplar programme, the team has rolled out their initiative to two further sites within Betsi Cadwaladr UHB and presented at several national and international conferences.

Commenting, Dr Anu Ajakaiye said: “It has been hard work, but it has been fulfilling. We are proud of all that we have achieved in such a short time and this would not have been possible without the support of the Bevan Commission.”

Associate Director for Research & Innovation at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Lynne Grundy, added: “We are delighted to recognise our researchers and innovators who are making a real difference to patient care. The judges had a very hard job identifying the winners as there is so much good work going on, and the awards are well deserved by all. We are now looking forward to offering these awards each year.”

Read more about the Contraceptive Champions Exemplar.