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RCM Annual Midwifery Awards 2014: The winners

23 January, 2014

RCM Annual Midwifery Awards 2014: The winners

This compendium presents the best in our profession, with projects to inspire you and vision for you to emulate. Here are the winners.
Midwives magazine: Issue 1 :: 2014

Wednesday 22 January 2014
The Brewery | London

Cathy Warwick 250x335

Our RCM Annual Midwifery Awards take us on a journey to discover the most dedicated, proactive and compassionate teams and individuals working in UK maternity services today. They remind us of all that is great about the core values of our profession and revitalise our energy to keep advancing midwifery. Celebrating our winners helps us to put across our message to the wider health world, the communities you serve and most of all to you – our members – about what midwifery care can achieve and why it matters. 

I warmly congratulate all our winners and runners up presented in this guide. Whether a midwife, student midwife or maternity support worker, I hope you will think about the excellent ideas and approaches and reflect on whether they could be applied to your practice needs. You may also be motivated to enter your achievements next year or nominate a colleague for a chance to share in the recognition. The categories this year recognise the widest range of RCM members’ work in maternity services. For the first time, we are recognising the contribution maternity support workers and care assistants are making in midwifery teams, while another new category marks the importance of the midwifery supervision role. You will be able to find out more about the winning projects during the year ahead in Midwives magazine, on our website and at the RCM Annual Conference.

I am delighted so many RCM members from all countries of the UK came forward to submit entries or to nominate others and thank you for helping to keep our standards high. I am also very grateful to the judges for their time and expertise in making the selections and I would like to thank the hundreds of women who put forward commendations describing how their midwife cared for them.

Every year, the Awards are made possible through the RCM Alliance Programme. I would like to thank our Alliance partners, JOHNSON’S® baby, Mothercare, Philips Avent, Slimming World and Vitabiotics, and the other companies and organisations who have supported awards.

Cathy Warwick's signature

Professor Cathy Warwick CBE
Chief executive


RCM Alliance Partners:
Johnson's baby, Mothercare, Philips Avent, Pregnacare, Slimming World, the RCM Alliance Programme

Award sponsors: Lansinoh, National Maternity Support Foundation, Pampers, Thompson's Solicitors

RCM award winner 2014

Philips Avent Award for Innovation in Midwifery

Maternity Telehealth
Dorothy Finlay and Sheona Brown
NHS 24 – with funding from the Scottish Government

The Maternity Telehealth project is a self-directed learning module designed to assist maternity care staff to deliver a quality, consistent, safe and effective service when providing telephone care and advice. It is free to access across Scotland’s 13 health boards via LearnPro, and was developed after a review noted the frequent dissatisfaction experienced by women contacting the maternity services via telephone. The module includes example phone calls, links to other evidence sources and guidance on managing difficult calls, and has received positive feedback during training sessions from qualified and student midwives.


Whose pain is it anyway?
Julie Austin and Chris Jones
Abertawe Bro Morgannag University Health Board
This project adapted an existing pharmacy protocol for self-administration of medication for midwives and new mothers to use for timely pain relief on the postnatal ward. It was driven by the need to improve services for new mothers, as midwives reported that providing individual pain relief care was challenging on the busy ward. A training package was created to ensure that all staff were briefed in the new initiative, which has empowered midwives to use their experiences in practice to find a solution to a longstanding issue.

Feeding Together
Geraldine Purver and Lisette Harris
Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Feeding Together delivers evidence-based information on infant-feeding via social media. A focus group of mothers under 25 (a group with historically low breastfeeding initiation levels in Basildon) reported dissatisfaction with how breastfeeding information was being presented. In response, the Feeding Together team created an app, supported by a website, Facebook page and Twitter feed. These provide fundamental and current information, and offer a model of how the NHS can evolve to deliver the best quality care in sustainable and affordable ways.

RCM award winner 2014

Johnson’s® Baby award for Evidence into Practice

Mom2Mom breastfeeding support

Lucy Johnson
The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust

According to studies, mothers can often turn to new grandmothers rather than healthcare providers for infant-feeding support. In response to this, Dudley midwives developed the Mom2Mom initiative – a workshop where a new mother’s own mother (or close family member) can receive breastfeeding information to support their daughter with her breastfeeding experience. On completion of a Mom2Mom workshop, participants are issued with a ‘Mom2Mom passport’, giving them permission to access the maternity unit at any time. The Mom2Mom initiative assists midwives and MSWs, as grandmothers and family members are equipped to provide consistent and supportive advice. This helps to ensure that public health agenda outcomes are being addressed and the achievement of breastfeeding targets and quality initiatives are supported. It also offers women and families more choice.


Transforming childbirth: changing the direction of planned place of birth
Cathy Rogers and Rose Villar
Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust

Despite multiple options, only 25% of low-risk local women were choosing planned birth outside the consultant units. The team developed and implemented ways to strengthen how choice for women was being promoted, utilising a range of evidence and analysis of the woman’s pathway. This included an evidence-based decision tool, a Birthplace workshop, risk assessment process and discussion. The project has led to a 100% increase in low-risk women choosing to give birth outside the consultant unit and has raised the profile of midwives within the organisation.

Mindfulness-based childbirth and parenting project
Sian Warriner and Maret Dymond
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust

The maternity service at OUH has an ongoing project to introduce and research mindfulness-based childbirth and parenting (MBCP). Evidence is emerging that teaching MBCP in the perinatal period can broaden women’s coping strategies, with a potential to reduce the risk of postpartum depression, along with other benefits. Women with a history of depression and couples who have experienced stillbirth have reported gaining significant benefits from the course.

RCM award winner 2014

Slimming World Award for Public Health

Improving childbirth and pregnancy experience for deaf couples
Paulina Ewa Sporek
University of Salford 

The Deaf Nest project, devised by student Paulina, aims to improve deaf users’ personal experience, equality of access, choice and control over maternity care. It will initially be piloted across north-west England in partnership with Manchester Deaf Centre and the Deaf Health Champions project. It aims to implement clear pathways and guidance to help midwives remove barriers and to explore ways of making adjustments to meet the needs of deaf families. All materials to support this project will be accessible for free via a website (which is currently under construction). It is hoped that support packs, designed to ensure dignity and address a deaf couple’s needs in childbirth, will be made available in each trust.


Bumps and Beyond antenatal weight management service
Ailsa McGiveron and Sally Foster
Lincolnshire Community Health Services

The Bumps and Beyond initiative was set up in response to a growing number of women booking at Lincoln County Hospital with a BMI>30. It provides one-to-one support and advice on limiting weight gain in pregnancy. It links with health trainers and infant-feeding coordinators, refers women to exercise clinics and works with a healthy eating cookery scheme. It has significantly reduced incidences of a variety of complications and 88% of women in the programme kept weight gain within the recommended range of 5kg to 9kg.

The Pregnancy Club
Debbie Trollope and Faith Meaney
West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust

The Pregnancy Club runs once a month from nine children’s centres for women of any gestation, and has a rolling programme covering a variety of health and lifestyle topics. The club is led by a midwife and was designed to complement antenatal classes. Feedback from women attending the club has been very positive, especially about the support and additional information provided, and the chance to share their experiences.

RCM award winner 2014

NMSF Award for Bereavement Care

Loved and Lost Babies or Yellow Balloons
Heulwen Harden and Stephanie Williams
Hywel Dda Health Board

Heulwen and Stephanie work tirelessly, with limited resources, to ensure that bereaved parents have the support they require while in hospital and at home. They have organised charity events to raise funds to furnish a private environment for families and worked with the hospital senior chaplin to coordinate a yearly remembrance service for loved and lost babies. They hope to share education and support to help foster confidence within the whole maternity team, as midwives who are not regularly involved with these tragic events often feel inadequate to care for families. They also hope to enhance working relationships with the consultant obstetrician, mortuary staff and the registrar of births and deaths to ensure good communication and to help parents cope with their incredibly difficult situation.


Bereavement care, maintaining a gold standard
Tanneke Berwick and Enfys Rogers
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board

Tanneke and Enfys visit families at home and in hospital providing support and counselling, in conjunction with a bereavement support group. This group has charitable status and has raised over £30,000, enabling two children’s gardens of remembrance where memorial services are conducted, literature for parents and siblings, memory boxes, quilts and cold cots. While also working clinically part time, they provide annual mandatory update sessions and inductions for midwives, and are also involved with teaching student midwives.

Family room organisation and update
Emma Campbell
NHS Lothian

Emma has a passionate interest in the improvement and consistency of bereavement care. She has recently played a leading role for bereavement care by updating and streamlining protocols, paperwork and staff training. She has introduced step-by-step guides for staff, which have made giving information to parents easier, and facilitated a multidisciplinary study day to improve staff training around bereavement care.

RCM award winner 2014

Thompsons Members’ Champion Award

Jillian Ireland and Sara Fripp
RCM Poole Branch/Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Nominated by Claire Cave

Jillian and Sara have been working together as union learning reps since October 2012. Their first joint venture was a ‘celebrate learning’ event to explore ways of energising their local branch and creating unity with members in neighbouring towns. They’ve created a Facebook page for members of both Poole and Bournemouth RCM branches, formed a choir and regularly put together a newsletter with contributions from stewards, reps and members. They have also run a recruitment day at Poole Hospital and learn-at-work events, including a ‘What the RCM does for you’ presentation, as well as working with stewards and other workplace reps. Sara regularly offers training in IT for staff and has boosted MSW membership in the branch.


Melanie Fitzpatrick
RCM Belfast Branch/Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

Nominated by Mary Caddell
Melanie has revived the Belfast branch, led information sessions and discussions and arranged training on equality and diversity. She is a one-woman recruitment campaign and works tirelessly to support and represent members.

Pauline Head and Jo Murray
RCM Colchester Branch/Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust
Nominated by Karen Godfrey-Edwards
Pauline and Jo go the extra mile to support and represent their colleagues. They are tenacious in their representation while both working full time as midwives. They handle every situation very professionally and work well with other unions.

Pam Ward
North Bristol NHS Trust

Nominated by Julia Chandler

Pam works at Southmead Hospital in Bristol and is an experienced and efficient steward of many years’ standing. She provides an excellent service to members and her commitment to midwives, women and the RCM is very well respected by the management team.

RCM award winner 2014

Pregnacare Award for Excellence in Maternity Care

Vulnerable Families Maternity Team

Mary Garven and Elaine Moore
NHS Ayrshire and Arran

The Vulnerable Families Maternity Team provides ongoing antenatal and postnatal care to women considered ‘vulnerable’ in Ayrshire and Arran. As well as being the identified health professional for the provision of community care, the vulnerable families midwife (VFM) works as the woman’s advocate, supporting lifestyle and health changes and parenting plans. This way of working has improved the experience of vulnerable women with complex social needs, providing continuity of care and carer. It has also improved both consistency and multi-agency communication and provided a more immediate response to help reduce the number of families in crisis. It has worked effectively in the involvement of fathers and has led to a reduction in child protection orders.


Moving Forward
Gina Augarde and Ann Remmers
North Bristol NHS Trust

North Bristol NHS Trust opened a freestanding birth centre in January 2013 and refurbished the labour ward to provide the same type of environment and facilities as birth centres. They provide opportunities for 80% of women to birth in a low-risk environment and 20% in a high-risk with one-to-one care. Their model of cross-site, multiprofessional working is reducing instrumental births and epidurals and improving breastfeeding rates, all-round satisfaction and financial benefits to the trust.

The implementation and impact of a vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) clinic
Anne Richley and Paula Briody
Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust

This service aims to challenge and reduce the high elective CS rate in the East Midlands. The initiative of a VBAC clinic, workshops and increased visibility of midwives within the labour ward has resulted in an assurance that all women have consistent, evidence-based information to make their birth choices. This has produced an improved VBAC success rate and positive birth experiences for women.

RCM award winner 2014

The RCM i-learn Maternity Support Worker Award

Integrated Health Service Team MSWs
Anne Allen and Julie Middlehurst
Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust

Nominated by Sarah Trotter

Anne and Julie are part of the Integrated Health Service Team (IHST), which works with the top 2% of the most vulnerable pregnant women and their families in Wigan. They provide one-to-one support and education to vulnerable clients and make referrals to the appropriate support agencies. This dynamic approach and partnership working has enhanced the provision of practical parenting skills for families with complex needs and has had a significant positive impact on the health outcomes for clients, families and babies. Both Anne and Julie work part time with the IHST and are also MSWs. They have completed extensive maternity care training and are representatives on a variety of action and policy groups.


Obstetric Theatre Maternity Support Worker (OTMSW) team
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Nominated by Gillian Morrow
The OTMSW team has taken on the scrub assistant role at CS births, which historically was performed by midwives. Eight staff received an additional 12-week programme on the perioperative scrub role for CS births and recovery room assessment. The outcome of this approach has enabled MSWs to provide holistic care to women and families while supporting midwives, and has led to 75 hours of midwives’ time being released to practise midwifery.

Maternity Support Workers for Infant-Feeding
Southend University Hospital Foundation Trust
Nominated by Antoinette Walsh
The SS9 project is a new initiative by Southend University Hospital and the local public health team, led by infant-feeding MSWs, to keep new mothers breastfeeding for longer. As well as contacting breastfeeding mothers on transfer to the community and providing intervention and support (supplementing routine maternity visits), they instigated breastfeeding cafes in the SS9 postal area. These provide new mothers with peer and professional support and encouragement, which has been positively received.

RCM award winner 2014

The Midwives magazine Mentor of the Year Award

Emma Cook 
Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Nominated by Becky Fry

Becky says: ‘Emma’s inspiring, professional approach has not only facilitated my learning, but always keeps women and their babies at the forefront of her care. I refer to her as my “guardian angel”, as she has supported me throughout the rollercoaster of my midwifery training. She has great character and an open heart, which is welcomed by all who meet her. Emma’s experience and teaching is fantastic. Her supportive, reassuring advice boosts my morale during the challenging aspects of the course. It has been a privilege to work with her and the families she supports and cares for.Her passion for midwifery encompasses the emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing of her clients and this, along with her deep care and compassion as a midwife, has provided me (and future midwifery students) with an amazing role model. She is an asset to the midwifery community.’


Christine Peddle
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

Nominated by Julie Quail
Julie says: ‘Christine has the ability to walk into a room and immediately change the atmosphere to one of calmness and positivity. She created a safe learning environment where I was able to ask questions, and would give me guidance when I felt lacking in confidence, allowing me to develop. Christine has had a huge impact on my long-term professional development. She taught me clinical skills, but more importantly, she taught by example how caring and compassion can make all the difference. She is the midwife I aspire to be.’

Cathy Atherton
Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust

Nominated by Georgina Lessing-Turner
Georgina says: ‘Cathy has been fully energised from the start of my journey and has created opportunities for me to gain rich and balanced experience. She creates and supports a totally ‘can do’ and positive working environment. I have been enlightened by her openness, honesty and integrity, and how inclusive she has been. Cathy embodies the ‘six Cs’ of compassion and it has been a privilege to be mentored by someone so special.’

RCM award winner 2014

The RCM Award for Partnership Working

Early Years Assessment Team
Rebecca Wade and Linda Davidson
NHS Borders and Scottish Borders Council

The Early Years Assessment Team (EYAT) is a co-located, multi-agency team in the Scottish Borders that provides care and support to parents on issues of attachment, risk, lifestyle, infant development and health matters. EYAT midwives establish what additional support needs that women referred to the team have, and families are asked to take an active role in engaging with agencies working with them. The team achieves flexible and sensitive care, gains understanding of how different agencies work, and those included draw on each other’s skills and expertise to maintain continuity of carer for the families. EYAT coordinates complex cases, as well as providing lower level support over a long period of time, from group social support sessions to pre-birth planning meetings and antenatal parenting assessments for ‘at risk’ babies.


The Health and Wellbeing Centre

Debbie Welham
and Susan Gibson
Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
The ‘Barnsley Healthy College’ model was created by NHS Barnsley, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Barnsley College to tackle high teenage pregnancy rates, high unemployment and below average educational achievement in young mothers. The Health and Wellbeing Centre empowers students to continue their studies, while being able to access all of their maternity care within the college building. This causes minimal disruption and provides a quality service that is cost-effective and sustainable.

Strengthening Families: Health in Pregnancy and Parenting Group
Wendy Warrington
and Elly Siddall
Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and Salford City Council

Strengthening Families (SF) is an intensive, specialist programme for women who are at risk of their baby being removed from their care. It has been developed in partnership with Salford City Council’s Early Intervention and Prevention Service. The parenting practitioner and SF midwife offer support tailored to fit each family, helping to ensure babies have healthier outcomes and are safeguarded before and after birth.

RCM award winner 2014

The Evidence Based Midwifery Journal Award for Promoting Normality

The promotion of normal childbirth and reduction of CS rate
Ann Lilley and Kim Sheppard
Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust

Over the past 18 months, the multidisciplinary maternity team has worked with pregnant women to promote the benefits of a vaginal delivery. They have employed a simple, low-cost, effective, evidence-based approach, including service users in discussions about how to give women up-to-date information about current research, and using a variety of tools developed through the Health Innovation and Education Cluster. These include weekly CS reviews, establishing a VBAC clinic and creating a list of principles that enshrine the promotion of normal childbirth for midwives in the Scunthorpe central delivery suite. This approach has resulted in achieving a CS rate of 16.2% in 2012 (against a national average of 24%) – one of the lowest CS rates in the country – and has saved the trust over £61,000.


Great Expectations
Margaret Rogan
and Kathy McCandless
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
The project ‘Great Expectations’ uses reflective practice workshops to identify perceived barriers to normalisation for all women by exploring cultural issues and practices in midwifery. Using strategic action plans, it aims to achieve long-term cultural change through accepting joint accountability, engagement and collaborative working. This allows problems to be identified, ensures improvements are introduced and has enhanced teamwork, leadership, communication and involvement to help spread change.

Promoting Normality in East Lancashire
Anita Fleming
and Melanie Robinson
East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust
East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has used its new configuration (one co-located and two freestanding birth centres and an obstetric unit) to engage local families with midwife-led care and promote normal birth. This enables women to have a full range of choices and midwives are well-supported to practise autonomously. This has reduced interventions, length of stay and costs, leading to higher normal birth rates.

RCM award winner 2014

The President’s Award for Supervisors of Midwives


Pauline Creaney, Michelle Walsh, Jean Watson, Madge Russell and Liz Walker
NHS Lanarkshire and the University of the West of Scotland

Nominated by Dr Jean Rankin

The SoM team in NHS Lanarkshire set out to engage with midwives and gain their views and suggestions for improving the standards and process of documentation in the trust. As a result of their work, a peer-review strategy was introduced for documentation review and feedback. After evaluating the system in hospitals and community settings, the standard of documentation improved, with areas of good and poor practice highlighted. The team identified that peer reviewers were reluctant to offer constructive feedback when improvements were required. To address this, they developed an objective user-friendly tool to provide feedback on performance. The team has demonstrated leadership and innovation, as well as commitment and endurance in trying and testing new ways of working to improve maternity services in response to midwives’ views.


Hull and East Yorkshire hospitals NHS Trust Supervisory Team
Nominated by Lorraine Cooper
The team of SoMs has been fundamental in leading the development of the new alongside midwifery-led unit (MLU) at The Women and Children’s Hospital. They facilitated engagement with women and families to inform the service provision development, particularly in relation to the development of the MLU. Following these sessions, they have produced a DVD training resource for use by SoMs, mainly reflecting interactions midwives may encounter. The team also has a strong visible presence in the unit.

North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust Supervisor of Midwives Team
Nominated by Ann Lilley
A report showed that the trust had a higher-than-average stillbirth and poor neonatal outcome rate. SoMs were tasked with identifying reasons for this. They were successful in modifying practice to improve outcomes for women, babies and supporting midwives’ development. The team provided a clear pathway and guidelines to enable these transformations. Midwives were included at every stage; SoMs shared information in meetings and annual reviews, promoting transparency and inclusion.

RCM award winner 2014

Pampers Student Travel Award

Lisa Cecere
South Bank University 

Lisa will be spending her four-week elective placement in the Peruvian Amazon, gaining an insight into the healthcare provision for women living in marginalised indigenous communities. She will spend part of her placement in the maternity services at the small Roman Egoavil Pando Hospital in Villa Rica in the Pasco region, and will also explore traditional midwifery practices by interviewing indigenous women of Yanesha and Ashaninka ethnicity living in the rainforest communities surrounding Villa Rica. A national annual awareness week for safe motherhood will also take place during the period she plans to be there. Lisa hopes returning to this region will help build her confidence in practising in a culturally diverse environment and in caring for marginalised and disadvantaged people.


Liudmila Tolmacheva
City University London

Liudmila plans to undertake a week-long midwifery workshop with midwives of The Farm community in rural Tennessee. The community was established in the 1970s and has developed a strong and empowering model of women-centred midwifery care. She will have the opportunity to make visits with an Amish midwife, gain practical experience of home birth and hopes to enhance her knowledge of the ‘back to basics’ skills necessary for working in a holistic, community environment by immersing herself in a different midwifery culture to the NHS.

Melanie Phelps
University of the West of England

Bumi Sehat in Indonesia is a non-profit, rural birthing centre that serves poor communities, including many ‘at risk’ mothers, offering free antenatal, birthing and postnatal care. Melanie will spend five weeks learning from local midwives in a culturally and ethnically diverse population. She hopes to learn about their ‘gentle birth’ approach and other childbirth customs and cultures, to work sensitively and to enhance her understanding of the area’s dominant faiths (Islam and Hinduism), which are relevant to her home community.

RCM award winner 2014

Lansinoh Award for Team of the Year

Caseload Midwifery Team for Vulnerable Women
Elizabeth Noonan and Hannah Jones
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Women caseloaded by this team have one or several risk factors including: severe mental illness or safeguarding concerns; domestic abuse; are from the traveller community, refugees, asylum-seekers or teenagers; have physical disabilities or learning difficulties; and drug and alcohol misuse. Many also have medical risk factors. These midwives are uniquely placed to access hard-to-reach women, improving quality and outcomes by being the key coordinators of care. They are a devoted, hardworking and cohesive group who go above and beyond to provide care to vulnerable women.


Leopold Team
Rebecca Smith
and Naz Active
The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
The Leopold Team provides an enhanced pathway of antenatal and postnatal care for a caseload of approximately 150 women and babies in a deprived area of Leeds. It aims to reduce the local infant mortality rate to 5.5 per 1000 live births and to improve the availability of supportive services. After discharge, families are encouraged to seek continued support from the team by attending a baby café run by Leopold MSWs and attended by a midwife whenever possible.

Rapid Access Clinic for Babies
Sue Cooper
and Helen Baston
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
The Rapid Access Clinic provides feeding management and clinical assessment for babies with weight loss or jaundice. This service is delivered face to face every weekday with a multidisciplinary team, including one of three part-time infant-feeding midwives. Telephone advice for community midwives is available every day. The team works with unrivalled passion and commitment to raise awareness of the benefits of initial and continued breastfeeding. They enable staff to have access to evidence, continued support, advice and updated documentation.

RCM award winner 2014

Johnson’s® Baby Mums’ Midwife of the Year

Overall winner

Caroline Burton
London and South East Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust

Nominated by Louise Whitmore

Louise says: ‘Caroline showed extraordinary care and support in the days preceding and during the delivery of our stillborn daughter, 14 months before our son’s birth. She stayed with us beyond her shift and was extremely comforting and compassionate at all times, helping us to stay strong during the delivery. For my son’s birth, Caroline volunteered to be with us from the beginning of my induction, despite not being on shift. Caroline dealt with the practical issues which caused me great anxiety and cared for my husband, too. She really took time to understand me and my family. Caroline helped us rejoice in our son whilst remembering our daughter and for that, I am forever grateful.’

Regional winners

North England
Joan Ellard (Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust) nominated by Karen Garvey
‘Joan is a truly special lady and I am honoured she brought our baby into the world.’

Northern Ireland
Eileen McConville (Southern Health and Social Care Trust) nominated by Maria McGeary
‘We owe Eileen the world – if it wasn’t for her we would not have our daughter with us today.’

Laura Main (NHS Grampian) nominated by Jenny Whitson
‘Laura was calm and put me at ease. She was nothing but positive and cheery every step of the way.’

South and Midlands
Vivienne Cutler (Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) nominated by Maggie Powick
‘Vivienne made our birthing experience a positive one – we will not choose anyone else when we have another child.’

Elspeth Lancaster (Hywel Dda Health Board) nominated by Rhian Clark
‘I would be proud if I could help one person like Elspeth has helped me – she’s an inspiration.’

RCM award winner 2014

Mothercare Award for Maternity Service of the Year

Joint winners

Downpatrick Community Midwifery Unit
Nominated by Breedagh Hughes, director RCM Northern Ireland

In order to ensure continuity of choice and local care for women in this isolated area of Northern Ireland following the closure of the local obstetric unit in 2003, the maternity team in Downpatrick maintained a 24-hour service by working in the community during the day and out-of-hours in the A&E department of Downe Hospital. This meant women were saved a 50-mile round trip to Belfast. They led a high-profile campaign for a change in health service policy, which resulted in Northern Ireland’s first freestanding community midwifery-led unit (this opened in March 2010), which now has a midwife present during the day and an out-of-hours on-call system. The number of births has risen to just over 100 by year three and the maternal transfer rate is less than 20%. Team leader Teresa McDowell (pictured) and the whole midwifery team has worked tirelessly to promote the unit and, throughout the development process, has been willing to adapt to ensure a safe, high-quality service for women and families.

RCM award winner 2014

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust maternity services
Nominated by Jacque Gerrard, director RCM England

This service has demonstrated an exemplary forward-looking and innovative approach to the provision of maternity services by improving normal birth rates and reductions in CS, and increasing choice for women. They have developed freestanding and alongside birth centres with a focus on normality and midwife-led, woman-centred care. They also have a very happy team, which works very closely with the local Maternity Service Liaison Committee. HoM Anita Fleming (pictured with postnatal manager Erica Dingle) is a strong leader, who has a very proactive approach to supervision. The service hosted its first national conference in 2012, which shared examples of best practice, models of care and the philosophy of normality with midwives across the region. In addition, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has been accredited with the Baby Friendly Initiative award for 15 years this year, which demonstrates this trust’s commitment to high standards of care around infant-feeding.

RCM award winner 2014

NHS Forth Valley Health Board maternity services
Nominated by Gillian Smith, director RCM Scotland

Forth Valley has a consistent and constant approach to service development, with women, children and families at the very core of everything they do. HoM Gillian Morton (pictured with deputy HoM Gail Bell) encourages her team to strive for that bit extra, creating an environment that encourages learning and development, in which innovation flourishes. The Pre-Birth Planning Service has expanded and developed, maternity triage has implemented the national telehealth templates, and ‘Zaky hands’ are in use for preterm and sick babies. SoMs in Forth Valley developed an award-winning ‘buddying’ system to improve the monitoring of babies during labour, and Gillian and two colleagues are undertaking a research proposal into improving experiences of care in early labour. The Forth Valley Royal Hospital has also achieved a prestigious Baby Friendly Initiative award; this is a maternity service that goes the extra mile and produces innovative ideas, year on year.

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