Northampton midwives win big at national awards

on 28 October 2021

Four midwives from Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust have scooped national awards, recognising their contribution to maternity services. They received their Royal College of Midwives (RCM) awards at a glittering ceremony in London, hosted by presenter and musician Myleene Klass.

Two midwives from Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust have been honoured with the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Race Matters Award.

Fatima Ghaouch and Samukeliso Sibanda received the first ever RCM Race Matters award for their work in supporting pregnant Black, Asian and minority ethnic women during the pandemic. As well as providing additional support to these women, they have also been working hard to raise awareness of racial inequalities that exist in the NHS. This has included introducing reverse mentoring with Trust directors coming into clinical areas to experience the working lives of Black midwives and meet the women in their caseloads.

Continuity of Care Matron Fatima said: “We are delighted to have received national recognition for the work we are doing to support and champion the needs of families from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.

“This was particularly important during the pandemic because of the concerns around Covid-19’s impact on minority communities and also because people from these backgrounds can have more problems during their pregnancy.”

Continuity of Care Team Leader Samukeliso said: “Part of our work was participating in reverse mentoring where we mentored some of our directors so they could experience what our day-to-day work involved and get insight into the issues raised. It has also increased our confidence that our work is valued and of great importance. Receiving this national award has also further increased that recognition.”

Picking up the Excellence in Maternity Care During a Global Pandemic award, Anne Richley and Claire Dale were recognised for their work in keeping community maternity services running during the pandemic. 

In just a few days Anne, Claire, and their colleagues set up alternative locations for mums-to-be to receive their midwifery support when local services had to be relocated from GP surgeries.

They had support from a professional rugby club and stadium, and local police, and set up community midwifery support services in VIP boxes and other rooms at cinch Stadium in Franklins Gardens. Even when professional rugby returned in March 2021, the pair were undaunted. Using social media and the local Maternity Voice Partnership (MVP), they sourced premises to house several community hubs across the area. This meant that women could continue to see their midwives in a safe environment.

Anne, who was community midwifery matron at the time (she retired in September and is now a bank midwife), said: “We are delighted to have won the award and I think it is a wonderful tribute recognising the relentless amount of extra hours the team worked in order to create safe spaces for the women who understandably felt vulnerable going to hospital in the midst of the pandemic.”

Community midwifery sister Claire said: “It is lovely to have received national recognition for the way our team of fifty-seven community midwives and maternity support workers all worked together to get new community midwifery locations set up for the families we serve.”

Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the RCM, said: “Fatima, Samukeliso, Anne, and Claire are a real credit not only to the Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, but to the midwifery profession as a whole. To win one award is an achievement, but to scoop two in a single year is extraordinary and really demonstrates the care, compassion, and commitment they all put into their work. There is no doubt that the past two years have been tough. That’s why it’s been so important to come together, to celebrate these fantastic achievements, delivered in spite of a global pandemic.”

Northampton General Hospital’s Chief Executive, Heidi Smoult, said: “At Northampton General, we are incredibly proud of Claire, Anne, Fatima, and Sam, and the exceptional work they have done for women and families.  Winning these awards is a true testament to their hard and commitment to the diverse communities of Northamptonshire during a time of immense strain on the NHS.  I began my NHS career as a midwife and I feel immensely proud to be the Hospital CEO working with these talented midwives.”



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


Notes to Editors

  • Individual media releases on all winners and categories to follow this release in coming days.
  • For more information on the RCM awards visit here:


Fatima Ghaouch and Samukeliso Sibanda

The judges said: “These two midwives from different backgrounds have utilised and built on their own life experiences to give voice to the voice less amongst colleagues and women. Maintaining their passion and commitment despite staffing challenges they have a process and are also making changes to the way care is delivered. They were able to evidence the impact they have made with homebirth notes going up and stillbirth rates going down in the Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.”


Anne Richley and Claire Dale 

The feedback from women about Anne and Claire’s hubs has been hugely positive. An anonymous quote form one of them sums up many of their experiences. “I was so frightened at the thought of having to go to the GP surgery or the hospital so was actually relieved when my midwife told me that they were working from the sports ground. It felt safe as it was so spacious, but it was also comforting to see other pregnant women there as we were all in the same situation…Everyone had to adapt very quickly to the changes, but the midwives went out of their way to keep me informed and welcomed suggestions. I will be forever grateful for them for keeping us safe."


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