Luton midwives win national award for bereavement work

on 06 May 2020 Midwives RCM RCM Member Midwifery IDM - International Day of the Midwife RCM Annual Midwifery Awards Awards NHS Staff Caring For You campaign Caring For You Charter

A trio of Luton midwives who led efforts to support staff after the death of a colleague have won the Slimming World’s Caring for You Award in the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Awards.

Anticipating the impact of the loss on staff, Helen Kerr, Eleanor Ritchie and Patricia Ryan from Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust developed a plan to support the grieving maternity team. The midwives put in place resources and adjusted working patterns to allow staff to grieve and carry on working, ensuring they were looking after each other, themselves and the women in their care. The team’s work will also bring benefits and support for the maternity team well into the future.

Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the RCM said:

“This is an incredible story of caring for each other and coming together to remember a much-loved midwife and colleague. It not only shows how important it is to look after each other but doing it also to support staff to continue their work caring for women, babies and their families during a very difficult time. This initiative has also put in place a support system will also keep paying benefits into the future. What Helen, Eleanor and Patricia have done is the very essence of the RCM’s Caring for You campaign, and they are truly inspirational and worthy winners of this award.”

Among the team’s initiatives was arranging for an on-site counsellor for staff and organising a memorial service and remembrance book, where staff could record thoughts and memories of their colleague. Later they opened a memorial garden and bench for staff to take time-out and remember their colleague.

Carolyn Pallister, Slimming World’s Public Health Manager, said:

“We’re delighted to be involved with the Caring For You award as we believe it’s vital that maternity professionals are well supported to be able to continue to provide outstanding care for women and their families.  The winning team demonstrated how a strong culture of care can make such a difference, especially in very difficult times, and clearly the health and wellbeing of midwives and maternity support workers is at the heart of everything Helen, Eleanor and Patricia do.”

The RCM is announcing the RCM award winners in the week in which International Day of the Midwife is celebrated on 5 May, and during International Year of the Midwife.


To contact the RCM media office call 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected].

Notes to editors


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the RCM Annual Award event due to take place on 5 May was cancelled. For more information on the RCM Annual Awards visit


For information on the RCM’s Caring for You Campaign visit


For information on international Day of the Midwife see For information on international Year of the Midwife see


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

About Slimming World

Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell (OBE, FRSA) in 1969. There are now more than 19,000 weekly groups supporting 900,000 members across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Groups are run by a network of 5,000 community-based Slimming World Consultants, who receive specific training in the role of diet and physical activity in weight management, as well as sophisticated behaviour-change techniques. Following the suspension of weekly groups as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Slimming World has launched a temporary virtual service so members can continue to enjoy – in a virtual environment – the vital weight-loss support, but also friendship and community spirit they find in their local group each week. Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, Food Optimising, is based on the science of satiety and energy density. Our phased activity programme, Body Magic, eases members into activity until it becomes an intrinsic part of their daily routine. The principles behind Slimming World’s philosophy are based on a deep understanding of the challenges faced by people who are overweight and recognition that those who struggle with weight carry a double burden, the weight itself and a burden of guilt and shame about their weight. Slimming World’s programme integrates practical, up-to-date advice with a highly developed support system based on care and compassion, and Consultant training focuses on facilitating, encouraging and empowering members to make changes in a supportive, warm and friendly group environment. Consultant training is delivered through the Slimming World Academy. Slimming World also invests in a comprehensive research programme to develop its support for long-term weight management. The group support provided by Slimming World is recognised as effective by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the NHS.