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RCM Awards 2007/8

12 November, 2008

RCM Awards 2007/8

The RCM held its sixth annual midwifery awards ceremony in London’s Kensington last month. Emma Godfrey reports on the day’s events. The RCM held its sixth annual midwifery awards ceremony in London’s Kensington last month. Emma Godfrey reports on the day’s events.

Making a difference

Midwives magazine february/march 2008

Kensington’s luxurious Royal Garden Hotel was the setting for this year’s sixth RCM Midwifery Awards on 19 January.

More than 200 midwives celebrated the profession’s innovators and visionaries with the parliamentary under secretary of state for health Ann Keen. Nominees from across the UK were recognised for their excellence in midwifery practice, education and research across nine categories.

RCM general secretary Dame Karlene Davis welcomed everyone to the occasion, expressing her gratitude to the RCM Alliance Partners and to the judges. She thanked all those who submitted an entry saying: ‘Regardless of whether you win or not, all the entrants have good cause to be proud of their efforts in improving services for women and the newborn, and in raising morale across the whole profession.’

Ann Keen MP addressed the audience stating what a honour it was to be there. She highlighted the commitment of midwives and their families, spoke of the government’s awareness of midwife shortages and stressed the reality of inequalities in health care. Of the NHS, she said: ‘It is inefficient and bureaucratic, but it is wonderful.’ She spoke of the pride each nominee should be feeling at their work’s recognition.

Mrs Keen remained to congratulate the winners, whose awards were presented by the ceremony’s sponsors – Pampers, Johnson’s Baby, Medela, Philips Avent, Bounty and Pregnacare.

Susanne Darra and Marian Mclvor

Category 1

The Johnson's baby award for excellence in midwifery education.


Jessica Tate: a virtual pregnancy
Susanne Darra and Marian Mclvor, midwifery lecturers, Swansea University

Building on the interactive scenario-based learning programmes in health care created by the university’s computer-assisted learning department, the midwifery education team have created a virtual pregnancy programme. Using audio and video clips with computer-generated graphics, this takes virtual mother ‘Jessica Tate’ through pregnancy to early labour, helping the student to understand physiological development as well as the social and emotional aspects and communication skills. It has been used and adapted over the past three years and further development plans are underway.

The judges saw this as a highly creative use of interactive learning to give ease of access to ongoing education for first year students drawn from a wide geographical area. The use of technology enabled complex information to be conveyed very simply.


Targeted interprofessional workshops within a midwifery curriculum | Theresa Bourne, Middlesex University

What is it really like to breastfeed a baby?
Jo Alexander, Kath Ryan and Alison Taylor, School of Health and Social Care, Bournemouth University

Rachel Ambler and Lorna Waite

Category 2

The Johnson's baby award for excellence in midwifery Management or leadership


A sustainable maternity service for pregnant teenagers and young parents | Rachel Ambler, consultant midwife in public health and Lorna Waite, teenage pregnancy midwife, Whittington Hospital NHS Trust, London

Services for teenage mothers have been hard to sustain. At the Whittington, a new midwife was appointed who was passionate about providing the best care for young women. With no extra funding, the Teenage Pregnancy Midwifery Service was launched, which provides continuity of care to under 18s. It provides a 24-hour telephone advice and support line. The judges were impressed that these midwives were working in a powerful team context. Teenagers were already self-referring and clear leadership resulted in effective change.

Mainstreaming good practice in midwifery | Kath McGrath and Julie Evans, Royal Glamorgan Hospital, Pontypridd and Rhondda NHS Trust

Margaret Rogan and Heather Kyle

Category 3

Phillips avent award for innovation in midwifery


Early warning scoring system (EWSS) observation chart
Margaret Rogan, practice educator midwifery, and Heather Kyle, clinical midwife manager, Royal Jubilee Maternity Service, Belfast

This chart empowers midwives to present objective evidence to ensure faster diagnosis. The judges praised this entry for the sympathetic way this tool had been developed to work within maternity care.

Information technology via broadband for community midwifery | Julie Tindale, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham

Guidance for health professionals and women experiencing pelvic pain | Jancis Shepherd and Eileen Powell, Thames Valley University

Pamela Cooke and Doreen Brunton

Category 4

Bounty award for promoting normal birth


Promoting Normality: widening the horizons
Pamela Cooke, staff midwife and Doreen Brunton, midwifery sister, midwife-led unit, Forth Park Hospital, Kirkcaldy, Fife

Women wishing a hospital delivery are booked for the midwife-led unit, which assumes such care to be the norm. The judges chose this entry, because it had the greatest impact on the greatest number of women.

One-to-one birth planning by experienced delivery suite midwives for women with complex needs | Kay Hutchinson and Deborah Hebblethwaite, Friarage Hospital Northallerton, South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust

Promoting normal birth in a Sure Start area | Victoria Cochrane and Amy Callahan, St Mary’s NHS Trust, London

Julie Walsh and Dorothy Smith

Category 5

Vitabiotics award for developing services for addressing inequalities in health


A gold standard midwifery service for asylum-seekers and homeless women
Julie Walsh, matron and Dorothy Smith, community midwife, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

At the drop-in group, visits are arranged to facilitate women speaking the same language to meet and receive health education. News about this work has spread and women will now self-refer. The judges were particularly impressed by the passion of the midwives involved. The fact women now self-refer highlights the positive impact of this work.

New teenage pregnancy service | Ailish Edwards, Taunton and Somerset NHS Trust

Development of services for women affected by FGM in Leeds | Nicolette Clark and Alison Wright, Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust

Nina Khazaezadeh and Claire Singh

Category 6

Pampers award for developing of postnatal care and early parenting


Community- based multi-agency parenting course | Nina Khazaezadeh, consultant midwife in public health, and Claire Singh, children’s centre midwife, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

This project provides postnatal care in an area that has one of the highest infant mortality rates in London. The course is delivered with midwives, a dietitian, speech and language therapist, the community mental health team, health visitor and literacy worker. The judges liked the way this holistic approach enabled access to other health professionals in a non-threatening way.

Postnatal care pathway | Cate Langley, Powys Local Health Board

Use of a postnatal pathway
| Anne Morgans and Mary Coatle Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust

Angela Hopkins and Penny Smith

Category 7

Medela award for promoting effective midwifery in community settings


First point of contact – rhetoric or reality: the Five-Year Plan | Angela Hopkins and Penny Smith, community midwives, Bro Morgannwg NHS Trust

Five years ago, six midwives formed a caseloading team to establish the midwife as the first point of contact, achieving a home birth rate of 24%, improving breastfeeding rates and ‘getting to know the community’. This is now a reality. The judges loved the commitment and enthusiasm shown by these midwives. Their focus on promoting normality was described as ‘admirable and clearly effective’.

Malazei Project | Janette Thomas and Lesley Ronayne, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Implementation of a safety communication device for community midwives | Mitra Bakhtiari, Women’s Services, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Lisa Common, Elly Hamlin, Catherine Ricklesford and Amanda Jarvis-Rush

Category 8

Pampers student vision award


This year’s Student Vision award is being made to enable students to attend the 28th Triennial Congress of the International Confederation of Midwives in Glasgow in June.

Lisa Common, University of Nottinhgam
Elly Hamlin, University of Glamorgan
Catherine Ricklesford and Amanda Jarvis-Rush, University of Bournemouth

Dorcas Akeju

Category 9

Lifetime achievement award


Dorcas Akeju

Dorcas has been a midwife for 32 years – 30 of them living and working in Liverpool. She has the utmost respect and affection of her colleagues, peers, managers, the families she cares for and the local community. Dorcas’ commitment is absolute and this, coupled with a flair for innovation and her enthusiasm has resulted in many of her ideas being successfully implemented.

Dorcas has great expertise. She is currently the specialist midwife for inherited blood disorders at Liverpool Women’s NHS Trust. She works in partnership with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and is helping to deliver ‘fast track’ training on inherited blood disorders across Merseyside, Cheshire, Cumbria and the Isle of Man. Since 2005, she has also been an honorary lecturer at John Moore’s University.

Dorcas is very active in the Trust. She is their equity and diversity lead and represents the Trust on several national working parties. She initiated and maintains the cultural awareness group, which incorporates the local community, voluntary organisations and other Trusts.

She is an advocate for women from black and minority ethnic groups, representing the Trust at various fora in this role. She is the chair of the multi-cultural women’s advisory group and also the lead midwife on the female genital mutilation group.

Dorcas has led on a wide range of initiatives, which have benefitted the local community. The Toxteth Community and Health Care Forum, which set up health projects such as keep fit and swimming classes for Somali women is an example. One of her many ground-breaking initiatives was to establish the West African Elders Organisation, which aims to reduce isolation and depression among those who have lived in England for over 50 years and are now mostly living alone. Dorcas is also a director of the Nigeria Community Association and secretary to the Merseyside Yoruba Community Association.

Along with her excellence in midwifery, Dorcas has played a very active role in the RCM since 1976. She was on the RCM Council between 1998 and 2005 and has been a member of the RCM UK Board for England since 1991, serving a three-year term as vice-chairman of the Board between 1996 and 1998. On a local level, she was Branch chairman from November 1998 to December 2001 and has been Branch press officer since.

Dorcas is a motivated and caring midwife. She works tirelessly to improve the quality of people’s lives, overcoming all obstacles and sharing her joy of life. As she said on receiving her award from RCM president Maggie Elliott: ‘Midwifery is my life: don’t look back, uplift wherever you are.’
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