Put "Lesley Page + midwife" into Google and you can expect to get 617 hits, a clear measure of her achievements. Lesley is passionate about midwifery, midwives and women. She has been a midwife for over 40 years having qualified in 1966. She has worked in Canada and the United Kingdom as a clinical midwife, an educationalist, an academic researcher, an author, a speaker and a midwife manager, often all at the same time. At the end of 2006 she retired from the post of joint Head of Midwifery Services at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust. She remains a Visiting Professor of Midwifery at the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, Kings College London, and continues to practise.
Throughout her career Lesley earned respect for pioneering new ways of organising midwifery care which emphasised the needs of women first. She has been instrumental in changing the culture that enabled others to then implement the radical changes to how maternity services are organised. She has always acted as an advocate for women, ensuring that their voice was heard and their views taken in to account at a time when women's needs were not seen as central to the provision of maternity services. She has worked with other esteemed colleagues to design and deliver a model of care that provides continuity of care and carer for women and their families. This culminated in the development of the one-to-one midwifery practice in West London in 1993 which was evaluated and reported on in-depth in 1996. This model continues to be taken up and extended to meet the needs of local populations across the country. It reduces duplication of services and has proved an effective and efficient use of resources.
For over 20 years Lesley has worked closely with the Royal College of Midwives. She has been the voice of midwifery on a wide range of expert groups and committees. In 1992 she was appointed by the Secretary of State for Health to the Government's Expert Maternity Group. She was the only midwife member of the group and was influential in ensuring that the report "Changing Childbirth", published in 1993, put in place the strategy for taking forward the maternity services that placed the needs of women firmly at the centre. This provided a framework for women and midwives to work together to take back control of pregnancy and childbirth.
In 2003 Lesley was appointed as the specialist adviser to the House of Commons sub-committee responsible for investigating the state of maternity services.
She has recently been appointed as expert adviser to the Kings Fund Inquiry into the safety of maternity services. The final report is due in 2008.
Lesley has continued to build on the model of research in practice, with one known midwife caring for one woman. She is part of the team developing and evaluating a community based caseload midwifery programme for the women in Kennington, Riverside and Deptford. This was launched in 2005. Midwives are carrying a caseload of pregnant women, working in group practices delivering a women-centred service tailored to individual needs.
Lesley has inspired and motivated many others throughout her career, often her work has provided the catalyst for others to go on to implement wide ranging improvements in maternity care, long may she continue to do so.
The Council, with much pleasure, adds Lesley's name to the Register of Honorary Fellows of the RCM.