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Carmel UK’s first dedicated health visitor for twins and multiple births

A dedicated health visitor for twins and multiple birth families has taken up post in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust – the first of its kind in the UK.

In partnership with TAMBA (Twins and Multiple Births Association), Carmel Hamill will work in addition to the routine health visiting service to support families from pregnancy until their multiples reach school age. Carmel will be working directly with families while also raising awareness amongst other health professionals on multiple-specific issues.

Launching the new service, Health Minister Edwin Poots said: “In 2013 in Northern Ireland, around one in every 62 births was multiple, with some 30% of all multiple births taking place in the Southern Trust area. It is anticipated that this new service will provide support to over 100 families every year.

“Parents of multiple birth children experience circumstances and challenges unique to their situation. It must be a very exciting and special feeling to know that you are going to have twins, triplets, or more. But, also, it must be a very daunting time.

“In 2012, I launched my Department’s Maternity Strategy, which aims to ensure that all expectant mothers deserve to receive the right care from the right person at the right time in the right setting.

“While the standard of maternity and neonatal care in Northern Ireland is high, there is always room for improvement, and so I welcome this new service for multiple births in the Southern Trust area and wish Carmel every success in this exciting, challenging and unique new role.”

Carmel Hamill, who has a background in Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting explains: “Parents of multiple birth children experience unique challenges. It can be both physically demanding caring for more than one child and emotionally difficult trying to cope with the additional pressures families may face.

“Feedback from families across the UK highlights a number of issues for multiple birth parents – like a lack of specific information on feeding and sleeping, feelings of isolation and a higher risk of postnatal depression.

“We hope that this service will help parents feel more able to cope with problems like stress and exhaustion, to promote their own health and wellbeing and to ensure the best possible outcomes for their children.”

Mum of 10 month old twin boys Niall and Patrick, Elaine Donnelly adds: “Having to care for more than one baby at the same time can be challenging, tiresome and stressful so parents really need all the support we can get.”

If you are expecting or already have twins, triplets or more and live in the Armagh, Dungannon, Craigavon, Banbridge or Newry and Mourne areas, you can contact Carmel through the TAMBA office Tel: (028) 9023 9050 or ask your GP, Midwife or Health Visitor to get in touch on your behalf.

Click here to see Carmel with Elaine Donnelly and her twin boys.

PICTURED: Health Minister Edwin Poots MLA with Carmel Hamill, the first Health Visitor in the UK for Twins and Multiples who is based in the Southern Trust, Yvonne Wilson, from Richhill, and her twin girls Isabella and Chloe, Roberta Brownlee, Chair, Mairead McAlinden,Chief Executive, Julie McConville Head of Health Visiting and School Nursing, Southern Health and Social Care Trust, Keith Reed, Chief Executive Officer, TAMBA, Rachel Wiffen, Head of TAMBA NI, and Lord Mayor of Armagh Councillor Cathy Rafferty.

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