Midwives, mothers and babies gathered in London for the ninth RCM Annual Midwifery Awards. Gareth Price reports.
Midwives magazine: Issue 1 :: 2011
A celebration of midwifery left event host Natasha Kaplinsky with the urge to engage their services once again. ‘You make me want to have another baby,’ she said as she brought to a close the ninth annual RCM Midwifery Awards.
It was unsurprising that the former BBC and Sky News presenter was so touched by the afternoon’s proceedings, as the stories behind the nominees in attendance at the Royal Garden Hotel in London made for inspiring reading.
Earlier, RCM president Liz Stephens took to the stage to welcome colleagues, saying: ‘We are in the company of outstanding midwives, who have excelled in so many different ways. I share all your excitement to find out who our winning stars will be.’
Liz also conveyed particular thanks to the sponsors: RCM Alliance Partners, Johnson’s Baby, Mothercare, Pampers and Pregnacare; and to the award sponsors Bounty, The National Maternity Support Foundation, NHS Employers, Philips Avent and Thompsons Solicitors.
Then, the 350-strong audience listened as RCM general secretary Cathy Warwick praised the ‘spirit of innovation and creativity’ demonstrated by midwives everywhere. Cathy was delighted that there had been a surge of entries for the 2011 awards, making the judges’ task particularly tough. The teams and individuals nominated represented a fraction of the work going on across the UK. She said: ‘I hope what you hear about today will show you something of the impact of midwives in the UK and affirm the value of midwifery-led maternity care to society and the economy.’
As proceedings approached their close, the audience took to their feet as Dame Karlene Davis took to the stage to receive the RCM’s award for lifetime achievement. The award recognised Dame Karlene’s remarkable career as a midwife, an educator, and a leader.
‘We mark the achievement of a health professional who made it to the very top as the UK’s first black woman trade union leader,’ Natasha said before inviting Dame Karlene – past RCM general secretary and past president of the ICM – to say a few words. ‘I wish I could lose the passion,’ Dame Karlene joked, ‘but I still rant at the TV’. She thanked the RCM for the recognition, adding that she ‘truly valued the colleagues that kept her buoyant’. Dame Karlene also paid tribute to her husband Victor, who joined her on stage, for his support. She wished the RCM well, knowing that it will continue to serve the best interests of midwives and mothers because ‘that’s what we are all about’.
1. Pampers Team of the Year Award
A fresh start...
Sally Sharpley and Louise Yusef, East Cheshire NHS Trust
Four midwifery team leaders have been instrumental
in modernising maternity care at East Cheshire NHS Trust. They have
supported one-to-one care in labour through effective workload
prioritisation, consistently achieving a success rate of over 97%.
An overarching plan to support normality in
childbirth has helped to reduce the length of postnatal stay and
transfer mothers home with the confidence to cope with the transition to
parenthood. The revised programme also includes a module on the
postnatal ward about baby care provided by the newly appointed nursery
nurses. Partners visiting times have been extended to facilitate this,
which supports the continued inclusion of partners following labour.
The postnatal care pathway devised by the team
leaders has seen the greatest change, with the inclusion of appointed
telephone contacts, postnatal contacts at the children’s centres, with a
minimum of one home visit ensuring the provision of choice.
The judges were impressed that this entry improved the system for the whole team in many ways.
2. Award for Excellence in Partnership Working
Medical students as well as midwives realise how incredible childbirth really is!
Sarah Fox and Fran Rushworth, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Local Health Board
Consultant obstetrician Fran Rushworth recognised
how relations between midwives and medical students can be problematic.
She realised that a committed midwife had the potential to transform the
experience of medical students and a midwife lecturer (Sarah) was
Sarah and Fran provide a united front to
ensure all medical students have a maternity placement that is based on
celebrating normality in birth. Time is spent at home births, birth
centre births, as well as the labour ward setting. Emphasis is placed on
being part of the care-giving team and supporting the whole of the
labour and birth. Because of the way the post is funded, Sarah is able
to work as an extra member of the midwifery workforce, which inevitably
Very innovative and transferable. The judges were impressed that the team had identified a solution to a difficult problem.
3. Johnson’s® Baby Excellence in Midwifery Education Award
The MaM project (medicines and midwives): Innovative approaches to developing drug administration skills
Grace Thomas, Debbie Lucy and Dr Simon Young, University of Glamorgan
This educational package is an innovative workshop utilising ‘Turning Point’ technology (including individual ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ type handsets for multiple choice questions). Clinical simulation scenarios were devised that reflect common medicine administration situations with pregnant or postnatal women.
Students found the technology exciting and stated that this different approach helped them to focus on the key issues including accurate calculation of dosages, while monitoring and recording effects. They also felt that it helped to prepare them for clinical practice.
Judges described this as a truly useful project with lasting impact for midwifery students.
4. Pampers Student Vision Award
Overseas elective placement with Juzoor Foundation for Health and Social Development in Palestine
Judith Green, Anglia Ruskin University
This two-week overseas elective placement, to take place in
February/March 2011 will allow Judith to spend time observing and
working with maternity care providers in the West Bank. In addition to
working with Juzoor, Judith’s focus will be on community-based and
Elective placement to Chitokoloki Hopsital
Dawn Nelson and Lisa Darrah, Queen’s University Belfast
This year Dawn and Lisa will be undertaking a
four-week placement to rural Zambia. As self-motivated, enthusiastic
students with a strong desire to broaden their experiences and develop
their knowledge of midwifery practice, Dawn and Lisa want to provide a
positive influence for change for women in developing countries.
5. Philips Avent Award for Innovation in Midwifery
Mums and midwives shop
Jemma Jones and Tina Upton, Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
The ‘Mums and midwives shop’ is managed by community midwives with
support from children’s centre staff and milk bank volunteers. It is
open five days a week, Tuesday to Saturday, 10am until 3pm, and gives
open access to any women who want to see a midwife.
appointments are necessary and there is no time limit put on
consultations. Women attend for antenatal and postnatal consultations
and advice, support and reassurance. Breastfeeding mothers are also
Initially five to eight women a day came to be seen,
now 25 to 30 are seen daily. Some women have chosen to have all their
antenatal care in the shop – the friendly atmosphere and easy access
outweigh the need for continuity.
A fantastic and enthusiastic entry. Judges were impressed by the transferable social model.
6. Bounty Award for Promoting Normal Birth
The Bradford home birth workshops
Alison Brown (pictured) and Deeanne Binns, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
These workshops involve discussions about the
practical aspects of home birth and are designed to equip prospective
mothers, fathers, partners and birth supporters with all the information
and advice needed to make a choice that is right for them. New parents
such as Deeanne Binns talk about their own recent birth experiences at
home, and this first hand, personal input has proved hugely popular. Any
mother interested in having her baby at home is invited to a workshop
in her local area by her community midwife.
The home birth workshops have been a team effort, raising the profile of the home birth service in Bradford.
The judges thought this entry displayed innovative
ideas in a difficult situation. They were impressed by the team
'reaching the hard to reach'.
7. Mothercare Award for Supporting Breastfeeding
No breast for the wicked
Carol Jones and Angela Hopkin, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Hospital Health Board
An action plan was developed for what mothers and midwives would like to
achieve in an ideal world. By collaboratively working between mothers
and health professionals, we now have eight peer-support groups across
the region. There are 75 peer-supporters trained, most of whom have the
OCN peer-supporter breastfeeding award. Five are within flying start
areas. Peer-supporters are not only engaged in the support groups, but
also attend antenatal education sessions to advertise their groups and
give experiences. There is now a queue of mothers awaiting training.
We see this project as an invaluable asset to our
community and our mothers and we are proud to have supported this group,
who have maintained self-belief and commitment through challenges and
have had the drive and ambition to make vision a reality.
The judges felt this entry demonstrated partnership and impact, engaged midwives and empowered parents.
8. Pregnacare Award for Excellence in Initiatives in Public Health
Educational DVD on how to perform a deinfibulation of a woman who has undergone female genital mutilation
Yana Richens (Pictured) and Sarah Creighton, FGM National Clinical Group
Consultant midwife Yana Richens and consultant gynaecologist Sarah
Creighton developed and produced an educational DVD on how to perform a
deinfibulation of a woman who has undergone female genital mutilation.
As a team, Yana and Sarah have offered support and supervision to
midwives and doctors to help advise them on how best to support women in
these sensitive circumstances and to promote the public health message
and wider safeguarding issues in the community.
This entry stood out because of its potential
public health impact. It has a multi-disciplinary audience and is a
useful teaching and learning tool.
9. Award for Development of Services Addressing Inequalities in Health
Specialist haemoglobinopathy clinic
Christine Watson and Sallyanne Stroyan, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
The clinic was introduced to:
✲ Improve access to specialist advice and information
✲ Facilitate informed choice early in pregnancy
✲ Minimise delays for partner testing and the results process at all stages of the programme
✲ Provide specialist counselling to ‘at risk’ couples
✲ Coordinate the notification of maternal carriers
between community and laboratory services
✲ Provide continuity for parents across fetal medicine services and when giving results
✲ Work with couples to empower them
✲ Share information with the lead midwife for newborn haemoglobinopathy to facilitate early access.
The judges felt this was an impactful initiative presented by dedicated midwives.
10. Thompsons Members’ Champion Award for Rcm Workplace Representative
Nominee – Sue Ng, Midwife, Halifax
Nominator – Jane Stewart, Community Midwife, Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust
Sue has a phenomenal drive and enthusiasm and has made a real difference to union members’ lives. Every year she organises ‘feel good’ pamper days for members to access and relax. She makes the day such fun and has stalls and refreshments – all money raised goes towards branch funds and at the same time we raise awareness of the role of the RCM.
She has organised guest speakers to attend branch meetings and displays posters all over our unit to encourage attendance, in doing this she has significantly increased branch funds.
By being so well funded, the branch was able to pay for student midwives at our trust to attend RCM conferences and study days, encouraging them to feed back at branch meetings and so involving the younger generation of midwives.
11. National Maternity Support Foundation Award for Excellence in Bereavement Care
The willow room
Jenny Gregory, Wansbeck Maternity Unit, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Every year for the past two years, Jenny has
organised the ‘Teardrop Ball’, which has raised funds for a room on the
outskirts of the delivery suite to be decorated and furnished to a very
high standard for bereaved parents.
Jenny leads a group of midwives and bereaved parents
and coordinates their wishes to ensure their voices are heard. Jenny
has often had to challenge the system in order to achieve this and has
met NHS bureaucracy head on. Her commitment is unquestionable and has
often achieved these results in her own time and with the use of her own
She has met with pathologists, chaplains and
geneticists with the aim of streamlining the ever-confusing paperwork
involved to ensure the families and midwives have a clear pathway of
care for all formalities to be dealt with efficiently.
The judges felt that Jenny had shown dedication, innovation, passion and kindness.
12. Implementing Government Policy Award
The home birth team – Improving choice
Anne Richley, Sally O’Connell and Babita Williams, Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust
This year, as a result of ‘Maternity Matters’
(2007), Anne and Sally launched a home birth team. They had a shared
commitment to improve the quality of service, safety, outcomes and
satisfaction for pregnant women and their families and identified a lack
of choice around normal birth.
A local ‘Choices’ leaflet was included in their
antenatal pathway and given to all women, along with a discussion on
place of birth. Informal interviews confirmed midwives’ commitment,
passion, confidence and competence in caring for women in the home and
the shared vision of helping to facilitate a positive experience of
birth for women and their families.
This team showed remarkable enthusiasm and leadership in implementing a strategic vision, which met government policy.
13. Nhs Employers Award for Excellence in Recruitment and Retention
Delivering quality midwifery preceptroship in Leeds Teaching Hospitals Tracy Ibbeson and Gail Wright, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
A robust 18-month preceptorship package for newly
qualified midwives has been established in Leeds Teaching Hospitals
since October 2007.
Recently the trust has appointed 30 newly qualified
midwives, so Tracey and Gail decided to address what they had on offer
in order to not only recruit the midwives, but also to meet the needs of
the maternity service. They began the recruitment campaign six months
before the midwives would qualify by holding sessions in the local
university. This led to early interviews and securing jobs for the
students prior to qualifying to ensure our vacancies would be filled.
measures put in place as a trust hopefully ensure the smooth transition
from student to newly qualified midwife in order that a high standard
of care is provided to women and their families of Leeds.
The judges were impressed by the commitment and motivation of these midwives.
14. Johnson’s® Baby Mums’ Midwife of the Year Award
The JOHNSON’S® Baby Mums’ Midwife of the Year Award celebrates midwives who have gone above and beyond the call of duty, and made the birth of a child a magical moment that mums cherish forever. This award is nominated for by mums, making the award an even more special recognition of the amazing work of midwives.
Midwife Angela Lindsay and mum Carla Mack
is a wonderful person and an asset to the midwifery profession. She was
patient, kind and helpful and I wouldn’t have got through the birth
Midwife Margaret Hirst and mum Gemma Richardson
is an exceptional midwife; she made the whole process so easy by taking
all my worries and troubles away – I was so lucky to have so much
Midwife Geraldine Goodchild and mum Paula Harris
was always such a reassurance, which gave me confidence. She is a
wonderful midwife and I am so thankful for everything she has done.”
Midwife Jasmine Callow and mum Natalie Donnelly
made me feel like I really mattered and provided tremendous emotional
support to me. Her help and support at that time was exceptional and I
am so grateful.”
Midwife Gail Cartwright and mum Samantha Kelsall
was important to me from the day I met her. I think Gail’s support
really put me at ease and gave me the confidence I needed to become a
SOUTH AND EAST
Midwife Natalie Carter and mum Samantha Diouf
was very supportive in the run up to the birth and was around to answer
any questions we had. Natalie always made sure that we knew what was
happening and made what could have been a very stressful situation quite
calm! After the birth of my son, we discovered that I was a carrier of a
virus that could lead to meningitis – and therefore we were both put on
antibiotics. At the time, we didn’t realise how serious it could have
been. Natalie was such a support to us all.
Although we both said goodbye after the birth, she
has always been around whenever I needed advice and support. Natalie has
been an inspiration and played such a big part in my son’s life. We are
so very grateful!”
15. Lifetime Achievement Award
Dame Karlene Davis DBE
Dame Karlene Davis achieved respect and renown throughout the NHS during
her service as RCM general secretary from 1997 to 2008. Her leadership
brought transformation and advancement both for the RCM itself and the
profession as a whole. Dame Karlene is highly regarded for having been
the UK’s first black woman trade union leader and one of the most senior
black women in the nation’s health professions.
Born in Jamaica, Dame Karlene trained as a nurse in
Nottingham in the 1960s and later as a midwife. She rose through the
ranks, first as a midwife teacher, and later through health service
management at NHS regional level.
Appointed RCM deputy general secretary in 1994 and
general secretary in 1997, Dame Karlene is remembered for her
achievements in negotiation at the highest level of government,
especially participation in Agenda for Change. This resulted in greater
recognition for the profession, with improved conditions and reward.
Today’s midwives benefit from improved leadership skills, confidence in
practice, shared learning and access to research thanks to resources
developed by the RCM during her time. Through her service as president
of the ICM and as director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for
Midwifery, Dame Karlene made a significant contribution to the
advancement of midwifery internationally. In 2001, she was awarded a
Dame Commander of the British Empire for services to the NHS and
midwifery. She has also received honorary doctorates of science from
Dame Karlene’s legacy is that midwives in the UK
today benefit from a modern professional membership organisation and an
effective trade union. Her work to reform its governance and financial
strategy put the RCM on a sound and secure footing to meet the
challenges of the 21st century. As a result, the RCM is now well placed
to campaign dynamically and provide unrivalled service and resources to
The RCM acknowledges Dame Karlene’s outstanding contribution to the profession.