Highland midwife crowned Scotland’s Midwife of the Year

on 10 November 2021 RCM Annual Midwifery Awards Scotland Community Midwives Midwifery

A rural community midwife described by colleagues as ‘the most amazing midwife and human’ has been named Scotland’s Midwife of the Year by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM). Frances Arrowsmith from works within a community midwifery team at NHS Highland. She received her prize at the RCM’s Annual Awards ceremony on 27 October, hosted by presenter and musician Myleene Klass.

Frances Arrowsmith said: “There are so many wonderful midwives in NHS Highland who would have been equally deserving of this award.  I am very lucky to work with a fantastic team of dedicated midwives and a wider multi-disciplinary team of superb practitioners.  Good midwifery care is all about teamwork and hearing women's voices and for me it has always been a pleasure and a privilege to be part of a woman's maternity care." 

Frances works in the community supporting women through pregnancy, birth, and beyond in a very remote and rural area. Most of her visits to women involve round trips of up to 100 miles, often down single-track roads, in all weathers and all seasons. She is regularly on-call, ready to go out to women, and because of the long distances involved, even stays in accommodation near to women’s homes if she thinks they may need access to support quickly.

Gill Walton, the RCM’s Chief Executive, said: “Frances’s commitment to the women she cares for and ensuring they get the pregnancy and birth they want is truly extraordinary. She is passionate about ensuring women in rural areas get the same options about their pregnancy and birth as those in cities, which is exactly as it should be. She is also an exceptional leader providing support and guidance for her team, so they in turn can deliver the best possible care for women. She is a remarkable midwife, and a more fitting recipient of this award I could not imagine.”

Mary Burnside, NHS Highland’s Deputy Director of Midwifery, said: “Frances was nominated by the midwives in her team who describe Frances as an amazing midwife, colleague and manager, whose kindness and compassion are infectious. 

“Frances is an exemplary role model and her passion for maternity care means that she always goes the extra mile (literally in Sutherland!) for the women in her care and in supporting and leading the midwives in her team. Congratulations to Frances on winning this award, which is so well deserved.” 

Frances is just as selfless in her commitment to the team she manages and will drive 75 miles from her home base to be there for them when support is needed. When there have been staffing shortages, Frances has volunteered to stay overnight at a midwifery led unit to ensure that a safe service could continue for women in that area.

Heidi May, NHS Highland's Board Nurse Director, said: "I am delighted that Frances has won this award – it is a great accolade to a very dedicated and expert senior midwife. We have been very lucky as an organisation to have Frances working with our patients over the years and this is a very well-deserved award."


To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected]

Notes to editor

 For more information on the RCM awards and the full list of winners visit RCM Awards 2021.

The Royal College of Midwives (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.