Ealing midwife and former top Department of Health official receives national midwifery honour

By RCM on 07 March 2018 RCM Honorary Fellowship

A registered midwife and former top Department of Health official from Ealing has received a national award from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM). David Foster yesterday received a prestigious Honorary Fellowship from the RCM for his contribution to midwifery and maternity services.

David was deputy chief nursing officer, head of a policy unit and midwifery advisor at the Department of Health for eight years.  He retired in 2016 after a long career in the NHS and civil service.  He trained in nursing at the Middlesex Hospital in London and in midwifery at Stirling and Falkirk Royal Infirmaries in Scotland. He held a range of clinical, managerial and professional leadership posts in the NHS which culminated in his being director of nursing at Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust in London.   He also an academic gaining a PhD in 1998 and is a visiting professor at three universities. 

Throughout his career and latterly at a national level David was a great supporter of midwives and midwifery.  He was committed to ensuring that midwifery had a voice at the highest levels. He championed the distinct role and position that midwifery holds as a clinical profession and in society more widely.

His influence and support of midwifery was central in ensuring that the supervision of midwives system, which stopped in 2016, was replaced with an alternative solution in all four UK countries.  Without his intervention and contribution this key part of the midwifery profession, which makes an important contribution to the quality of care, would now be lost. 

David received his Honorary Fellowship yesterday at the Royal College of Midwives Annual Awards in London.

The RCM Honorary Fellowship is for people who make an outstanding contribution, or give outstanding service, to midwifery, maternity services, services for women and their families or to the RCM.

David Foster said “I am delighted to accept this extraordinary, unexpected and greatly appreciated accolade.  It recognises achievements which could not have been accomplished alone - it’s also a tribute to the skilled and distinguished midwives I have worked with to influence national policy and improve care for women and babies”.

Kathryn Gutteridge, President of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “David has been hugely influential in championing midwifery and the wider NHS. His influence and support have been critical in ensuring the midwifery voice was listened to.  This is thoroughly deserved recognition and the Royal College of Midwives is delighted to award David this Honorary Fellowship.”

To contact the RCM Media Office and for a picture of David receiving his Honorary Fellowship call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected]

Note to editors

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.