RCM Annual Midwifery Awards 2018: Compendium of winning entries

By Gill Walton on 07 March 2018 Midwives Magazine RCM Annual Midwifery Awards

Welcome

On most days, being a midwife or MSW is the best job in the world. Who else gets to stand alongside families bringing new life and joy into the world? Who else gets to support women who dream of being parents through their antenatal journey? Who else gets to see new parents steadily gain the confidence to look after their new baby? We do. 

Of course not every day is great and can throw up all sorts of challenges, but life is like that. So how do we stay positive in those more taxing times? 

Well, one way is to celebrate all that is great about maternity – and the midwives and MSWs who give their all – to pat each other on the back and congratulate our colleagues on all the innovations and improvements we’ve made in spite of the challenges.

The RCM Annual Midwifery Awards are our opportunity to say to each other and to the world – look what amazing things midwives and MSWs do. Look at the teams who have taken maternity care into remote, disadvantaged or isolated communities. Look at the individuals who are spreading best practice and helping their colleagues stay clinically focused and confident. Look at the pioneers who have found new ways of improving safety and outcomes. Look at the collaborators who are working with local agencies and organisations to protect families and babies.

These awards only exist because every year, fantastic midwives and MSWs continue to provide fantastic care. Some of our previous award winners have gone on to be national figures or have introduced changes that are now common throughout maternity care. Among this year’s winners will undoubtedly be some of tomorrow’s leaders, midwives and MSWs who are passionate about how we put women at the centre of everything we do. 

The RCM awards make me proud to be a midwife – they should make you proud too.

JOHNSON’S® EXCELLENCE IN MIDWIFERY EDUCATION, LEARNING AND RESEARCH AWARD

KRISTEN GOODALL
Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Faced with a staff shortage, recruitment and retention problems, and a rise in junior midwife incidents, the trust developed a 16-month preceptorship programme, with clear education pathways and experience covering the entire patient journey. All preceptorship midwives achieve Band 6 and can work in all clinical areas.

There has been an overwhelming change in confidence and knowledge, and an unexpected boost in teamwork. Now, attrition is unavoidable, and there has been a considerable increase in applicants, plus a dramatic drop in clinical incidents involving preceptorship midwives. The programme can be rolled out by any trust, is used as a beacon programme by the RePair research study, and the ‘legacy mentor’ concept is a national example of good practice. 

RUNNERS-UP

Clare Hughes and Gail Anderson
Queen’s University Belfast

A collaborative initiative between final-year midwifery and fourth-year medical students to improve relationships, develop an understanding of professional roles and promote normality within the birth setting. This has included exploring the medical student role within a physiological birth setting and workshops on topics such as upright positioning in labour.

Adele Stanley and Gemma Boyd
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust for Progress Theatre

Use of established forum theatre techniques to explore, analyse and present complex maternity issues and concepts, shining a light in the dark places of midwifery culture that remain unarticulated and unaddressed. The company is made up of practising midwives and one actor, who bring their own knowledge and experience to the subject matter.

Susan Roberts
Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

A multidisciplinary training course for paramedics and community midwives, addressing feedback about the lack of training for the home environment and too few updates on obstetric emergencies. The course focuses on emergencies in the pre-hospital setting, with simulated environments including a train carriage, motorway and home living room.

SLIMMING WORLD AWARD FOR PARTNERSHIP WORKING

Pregnancy liaison meeting
DEBBIE REES-POLLARD AND MELISSA SIMPSON
Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Doncaster Children’s Services Trust

The pregnancy liaison meeting is a monthly, multi-agency meeting to discuss any pregnant clients with current or historic safeguarding concerns. It can involve universal and early help services and social care. Information is shared between agencies involved with the family to improve safety and outcomes for unborns. 

The meeting also allows the team to monitor families that don’t meet the threshold for social care involvement but where there are concerns. This enables referrals to other agencies at an early stage in pregnancy and working with the family to help avoid the situation deteriorating.

RUNNERS-UP

Coventry and Warwickshire A-Equip Partnership 
Carmel McCalmont and Alison Talbot 
University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, Coventry University, George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust, South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust 

Supporting 460 midwives across a diverse geographical region with pre- and post-registration education.

Labour ward leaders project
Alison Talbot and Gaynor Armstrong 
George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust

Improving communication between midwives, obstetricians, anaesthetists and others, focusing on the deteriorating patient. 

Safe active birth 
Jane Tomlinson-Wightman and Tamsin Cripps
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust

Ensuring the safest possible birth while respecting individual choices, including physiological birth in complex cases. 

Enhancing midwifery services for vulnerable women at Liverpool Women’s Hospital
Carmel Doyle and Carolyn Moore
Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust

Individualised, needs-based holistic care for women with mental health problems, substance misuse, learning disabilities or social care involvement. 

POLICY INTO PRACTICE

Introducing a caseload model of care
IONA DUCKETT AND MICHELLE CARTER
NHS Tayside

In line with recommendations from the Scottish maternity and neonatal review, the Angus midwifery team has radically changed the way it provides care, introducing a continuity model. It has developed a successful, dedicated home-birth team, fully integrated within the wider team, meeting its goal to increase the home-birth rate from 0.3% to 3% within a year. 

The greatest challenge has been mobilising the wider team to work together, developing flexible rosters that remove staffing 24/7 when nobody is in the buildings so midwives do not work night shifts unnecessarily. The team now staff women, not buildings. The team continues to progress in developing continuity for women with additional needs within the high-risk antenatal clinic. Families are encouraged to remain together throughout the maternity journey, and partners are invited to stay within the birthing unit. Feedback from women, families, obstetric colleagues and staff has been hugely positive.

RUNNERS-UP

Start treating others positively (stop) sessions 
Kath Jones and Silvana Pixton
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

An interactive workshop, underpinned by the Dignity at Work policy, aimed at addressing a culture of bullying.

Maternity continuity of carer pilot 
Annie Francis and Kate Brintworth
Neighbourhood Midwives

A groundbreaking pilot scheme to increase choice and continuity for women by integrating a small independent midwifery provider into the east London local maternity system. 

Keeping mothers and babies together 
Mary Hannaway and Rhona Wilson
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde 

Collaborative work to minimise/remove the separation of new mothers from their babies who required intravenous antibiotics at delivery. 

SWBH reducing perinatal mortality
Lydia Nestor and Linda Holmes
Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust

Development of a midwifery-led antenatal day assessment unit with a community obstetric growth scan service, aimed at early and responsive detection of fetal growth restriction.

MATERNITY SUPPORT WORKER OF THE YEAR AWARD

LUCY-JAYNE DOWNING 
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (nominated by Sally Armstrong)

Lucy-Jayne is the MSW for a community midwifery team funded by Better Start Bradford, offering enhanced personalised care to a group of women and their families who live in one of the most deprived inner-city areas of Bradford.

Apart from volunteering in the maternity unit for a year prior to joining the team, Lucy-Jayne had no healthcare experience. At 23, she is the youngest member of the team, and has grasped the team concept and developed her role to ensure the women and their families get the very best support available.

As Lucy-Jayne has become competent and confident, her role has expanded into home visits prior to booking appointments to check these dates are convenient and promote key health messages, group or one-to-one antenatal sessions for first-time or unsupported parents, and extra postnatal breastfeeding visits.

RUNNERS-UP

Julia Atterbury 
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (nominated by Kate Evans and Margaret Birch

As an MSW in an antenatal clinic, Julia has an expanded role offering guided conversations that promote bonding, attachment and breastfeeding to all women following their anomaly scan. Breastfeeding rates have since increased from 51% to 60.2%.

Postnatal MSW team 
East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (nominated by Keelie Barrett)

The team goes the extra mile on a daily basis to provide exceptional care to women and support to the midwifery team, and have made running a transitional care ward a reality, so mothers and babies can sometimes be kept together instead of the baby being admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit.

Susan Stahl 
Saint Mary’s Hospital, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (nominated by Victoria Holmes)

This nomination has been put forward to recognise the contribution to care that Sue provides to bereaved families. Her passion, dedication and commitment is highly recognised by women and families. 

PREGNACARE® AWARD FOR STUDENT MIDWIFE OF THE YEAR

GEMMA FORD 
Sheffield Hallam University

 

Gemma loves the midwife’s role as an advocate for women, ensuring they can make informed choices, and the professional-servant approach to partnering. 

There are numerous ways in which she has contributed to improving the student experience (for example, collaborating with other societies as midwifery society president and acting as a student ambassador) and care for women (for example, entering the RCM ‘90-second idea’ at conference with a scheme for regular home-birth information events, which she was able to take further in a meeting with a consultant midwife from her trust, and her current participation in a Cochrane review). 

Gemma hopes to inspire other student midwives to realise that they don’t have to wait until qualification to make an impact in the profession or improve women’s care.

RUNNERS-UP

ALISON BRINDLE 
University of Central Lancashire 

By re-energising the midwifery society and campaigning to create better experiences for women, Alison has worked hard to enhance student education. She is passionate about change and uses social media campaigns to raise awareness.

CARA EVANS
University of Nottingham

A committed and passionate student midwife, Cara uses social media to support students and raise the profile of midwifery. She documented her journey towards starting the midwifery programme using self-videos and is a peer mentor.

LUCY PRICE
University of Southampton

Lucy’s experience as midwifery representative of the nursing and midwifery society inspired her to propose and secure funding for a midwifery society. She managed the transition with sensitivity and professionalism, maintaining collaboration.

LOUISE WEBSTER
University of Worcester

Louise played a key part in reviving the midwifery society and acted as co-chair. In 2017, she was nominated as the England representative for the RCM Student Midwives Forum and has been elected as the new chair.

LANSINOH AWARD FOR TEAM OF THE YEAR

Ruby specialist midwifery team for vulnerable pregnant women
Whipps Cross University Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust

 

The Ruby specialist team was started in 2012 to improve outcomes for vulnerable women accessing care at Whipps Cross.

It has direct links with GPs, health visitors, family nurse practitioners, social care and Maternity Mates and also links women with children’s centres in the antenatal period. 

External agencies can directly refer women, providing easy access to maternity services for women who may be hard to reach. Women can also self-refer. NICE (2010) recommends specialist midwifery services for pregnant women with complex social factors such as alcohol or drug misuse, domestic abuse, recent migrant or asylum-seeker status, difficulty reading or speaking English or being aged under 20.

RUNNERS-UP 

The Crocus team – continuity for Croydon 
Croydon Health Services NHS Trust

The Crocus team is a dedicated group of passionate midwives who provide gold-standard midwifery. The caseloading team prioritises continuity of care and ensures women have a named midwife throughout pregnancy, labour, birth and the postnatal period. There has been overwhelmingly positive feedback from women, and this demonstrates the importance of continuity, further supported by the team’s excellent outcomes in a borough of London struggling with multiple social and health-related issues that lead to significant levels of deprivation. The team cares for mostly low-risk women but has progressed to a mixed risk caseload.

Zone B community midwives’ team
Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

This community-based team in densely populated, incredibly diverse Hackney consists of nine midwives and one MSW, who provide 17 antenatal clinics a week and postnatal home visits 365 days a year. Most of the clients are from Orthodox Jewish communities, and the team strives to improve practice to accommodate their needs. In the past year, they have improved continuity of carer, added two extra clinics and qualified as sign-off mentors. Three team members have recently become RCM workplace representatives, and we aim to provide a dedicated support structure to our colleagues for years to come.

JOHNSON’S® AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN MATERNITY CARE

Keeping mothers and babies together 
MARY HANNAWAY AND RHONA WILSON
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

 

The neonatal and midwifery teams at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow recognised the need to minimise separation of mothers from their babies who required intravenous antibiotics at delivery, for prevention and treatment of neonatal early onset sepsis. 

Historically, these babies were transferred to the neonatal unit for a period of up to two to three hours. The project’s aim was that mothers and babies stay together at this crucial time in accordance with Unicef’s Baby Friendly Initiative stage 3, standard 2: ‘support all mothers and babies to initiate a close relationship and feeding soon after birth’. In the first four months of the project, 98.7% of babies were successfully cannulated in the labour ward, remaining with their mothers.

RUNNERS-UP

Midwife-led frenulotomy clinic 
Marilyn Rogers and Louise Brookes
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust 

Our aim is to significantly improve patient care and outcomes. A quick referral-to-completion pathway reflects the extended role of the midwife, securing measurable improvement. 

Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative: achieving sustainability standards
EAST LANCASHIRE HOSPITALS NHS TRUST MATERNITY SERVICES 

The first service to achieve the Gold ‘Achieving Sustainability’ accreditation, the team works to ensure the standards are embedded and respected long term. 

Harnessing the power of data to transform care at ‘shop-floor’ level
Susan Powley and Angela Clarke
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

Data has huge power when midwives use it to audit their outcomes. A bespoke role was developed that uses information from IT systems to work with the multidisciplinary team. 

Enhanced recovery pathway
Beverley O’Connor and Kristin Jamieson
Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

Midwives worked closely with obstetricians and anaesthetists to ensure high-intensity care for women having an elective CS.

THOMPSONS MEMBERS’ CHAMPION AWARD

KEELIE BARRETT
East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust

 

Keelie is an MSW advocate and health and safety rep, and has totally embraced the role. She regularly attends health and safety committee meetings and undertakes work inspections. She liaises with line managers to bring about positive changes and is passionate about the promotion of health and wellbeing at work.

LISA ALLAN
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

 

Lisa is a highly motivated midwife and has been an RCM steward for almost three years. She thrives in this role and has shown great potential in developing further. As a steward, Lisa has shown dedication, enthusiasm, commitment and knowledge, with a wide understanding of the issues facing maternity services.

RUNNERS-UP

Eleanor Ritchie
Luton RCM Branch

Eleanor has worked tirelessly to build the branch into a strong and active one. She has been at the forefront of bringing the Luton RCM officers and stewards together, setting up online media so they are always in touch, including a local members’ Facebook page to keep them up to date with any news or events. This was highlighted in the RCM Midwives magazine last year.

Martine Bayliss
Bolton NHS Foundation Trust

Martine is staff-side chair of Bolton’s Joint Negotiating and Consultative Committee. She is a respected and valued contributor to negotiations across the trust and attends strategic meetings with the HRD lead for policy changes across Greater Manchester health and social care to improve service delivery and working conditions, workforce engagement and organisation.

KELLOGG’S ALL-BRAN AWARD FOR MIDWIFERY SERVICE OF THE YEAR

MAUREEN MCSHERRY AND LYN CLYDE

NHS Lanarkshire (Amanda Kennett pictured right, standing in for Lyn)

University Hospital Wishaw in Lanarkshire consistently seeks to improve its maternity service and has an engaged, enthusiastic and empowered team of midwives. The HoM left a year ago and one of the lead midwives was appointed to that post. The change did not stop the team continuing to provide high-quality care and implement change.

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust maternity services team
UHCW NHS Trust

 

UHCW maternity services strive for excellence in care that is evidence-based, innovative and driven by women’s needs. The team seeks opportunity to engage with national policy and service delivery change and has strong local partnerships to support community engagement, education, development and research and to learn from others.

RUNNERS-UP

Maxine Spencer and team
King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

This large, complex maternity service supports over 10,000 women across two sites in Denmark Hill, south London, and Princess Royal University Hospital, Bromley. It has a history of innovating and, despite cost pressures, has secured investment to improve care. The service has reinvigorated caseload midwifery practice to ensure it is sustainable and has realigned teams to offer targeted support to vulnerable women and those with serious mental health illness.

Sue Gibson
The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

The trust delivers maternity services to over 10,000 women and families over two sites – Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s University Hospital. With new midwifery leadership, significant changes have begun to take place with a review of clinical governance, staffing, education provision and the delivery of community care. This has led to improvements in morale and staff engagement and a general excitement about the future.

RCM CARING FOR YOU AWARD

ALISON JONES AND SUZANNE HARDACRE
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

 

When signing up to the Caring for You charter in 2016, work began to ensure robust methods for staff engagement and feedback. Wellbeing is a priority, and the charter provides a platform to communicate the outcome of HR and staff-side walkabouts. The health and safety representative and HoM invest in innovative ways of ‘giving something back’, including resilience days, appreciation boxes, coffee, cake and a catch-up, and a staff Facebook page. They have seen a reduction in formal concerns, plus a marked increase in compliments, with overall positive feedback. Staff actively seek opportunities to improve care. This includes fundraising for wireless monitors enabling mobilisation; active birth couches; and electric double beds.

RUNNERS-UP

Natalie Jones and Kathy Murphy
Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

Saint Mary’s Hospital was the first maternity hospital to sign up for Caring for You, and adapted it to include midwifery, nursing and support staff in their ‘What matters to you’ programme. 

Faye Wells and Gill Pownall
The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

With high sickness and attrition, plus a major reconfiguration, the team introduced a ‘break’ midwife with the sole purpose of relieving staff, plus bespoke resilience training. 

Beauty Havire and Felitta Burney-Nicol 
Newham University Hospital

Retirement, migration of professionals from the UK and Brexit have increased recruitment and retention pressures. The rationale was to improve morale, health, safety and wellbeing.

Audrey Wareham and Carmen Cross
The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Morale was low and staff were leaving. Signing up has had an incredible impact on wellbeing, recruitment and satisfaction.

REDUCING INEQUALITIES AWARD

The JIG-SO multi-agency team
SALLY ROBERTS AND JULIE MORGAN
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMUHB)

JIG-SO is an ABMUHB and Swansea local authority project, funded by the Welsh Government through Flying Start and Families First. It was implemented in April 2016. 

Core maternity services refer pregnant teenagers and young women up to 25 years old to the JIG-SO midwife. The multi-agency team, which includes eight midwives, four community nursery nurses, four parenting workers and four early language development workers, provides interventions to families where complex social factors may stop them from reaching their full potential. Nearly one in three children lives in poverty in Wales. Their life chances are influenced by circumstances before birth and during their first years of life. Early years are the foundation for society’s future prosperity and progress. 

The service is needs-led, using feedback from its service users, and evaluation to date shows the positive impact JIG-SO has had on young families, thereby reducing inequalities.

RUNNERS-UP

Leap community and activity nutrition (can) programme
Nina Khazaezadeh and Sheila O’Connor
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

An evidence-based, multi-component, lifestyle change programme supporting overweight and obese women (BMI >25) to eat more healthily and become physically active to improve their health and that of their babies and reduce birth risks. 

Spanish-language parent education
Octavia Wiseman and Tracey MacCormack
King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

A monthly ‘drop-in’ class was developed, combining formal teaching with interactive games, women-led discussion and relaxation, to help women navigate the NHS maternity system, inform their decision-making and improve peer support and service satisfaction. 

Maternity mates – volunteer pregnancy and birth support for vulnerable women in east London
Amanda Hutcherson and Jules Robertson
Women’s Health and Family Services, City, University of London

Since 2011, 225 volunteer birth supporters have been trained, and 700 pregnant and birthing women have been supported. The team support vulnerable antenatal women, attend at the birth if requested and offer breastfeeding and postnatal support as required.

SANDS AWARD FOR BEREAVEMENT CARE

The Snowdrop Service: listening to hear, voices of bereaved parents as key agents of change
MICHELLE LYNCH
North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust

The Snowdrop Service was developed with bereaved parents and clinical staff to provide a comprehensive, compassionate and responsive service, supporting families through childbearing bereavement and subsequent pregnancies. This includes the Snowdrop postnatal clinic with the option to have the appointment at home, a fetal clinic supporting families with lethal prenatal diagnoses and care planning for meeting their baby, Rainbow (pregnancy after loss) caseloading service run by a bereavement midwife, support ‘surgeries’ and monthly support coffee mornings for clients. 

RUNNERS-UP

Perinatal bereavement team 
Karen Henson and Alison Rea
Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

Having opened dedicated facilities in 1996, the service is an evolving partnership between hospital and families.

Introducing emdr to bereavement services
Samantha Evans
Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Helping women in their grief via Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing, a therapy that assists with management of memories associated with traumatic events. 

Forming of Hastings and East Sussex Sands support group
Jane Bedford-Clark and Kirsty Milward
East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

This new service has supported 70 families and facilitated training, allowing excellent care. 

Midwifery-led post-mortem consent
Victoria Holmes and Lyndsey Evans
Saint Mary’s Hospital, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

Avoiding the wait for a doctor to take post-mortem consent, plus valued information from the bereavement midwife.

EMMA’S DIARY MUMS’ MIDWIFE OF THE YEAR AWARD

Sarah Spencer
Overall winner, Wales
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board Nominated by Elouise King

Sarah’s care and compassion for Elouise stood out to the judges. 

She made the pregnancy journey for parents of twins being carried by a surrogate mother personal and inclusive for all concerned. 

The parents felt supported by Sarah when they attended antenatal appointments with the surrogate mother. 

Sarah communicated with the parents throughout, including when one of the twins was admitted to the neonatal unit. 

She also made sure the surrogate mother was given privacy to recover after the birth and not put on an open postnatal ward. 

All in all, Sarah is a deserving winner for her compassion, consideration and professionalism.

REGIONAL WINNERS

The judge's comments:

WINNER, England – Midlands region 
Kate Laszlo 
Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 

 

Nominated by Katy Enser

The judges were impressed by Kate’s advocacy and her use of an acronym to help women assess decisions about their care. This simple tool, handwritten onto maternity notes, empowered Katy to assert her preferences. Katy said: ‘This allowed me to cope when the situation might otherwise have overwhelmed me.’ 

Winner, England – London region 
Sue Lovell 
Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust

Nominated by Laura Mayor

We were struck by Sue’s compassionate care and support of Laura. This was an example of how midwifery care can support a woman even when there are complications. Laura told us that Sue ‘was my rock during my pregnancy and birth’. 

Winner, Scotland 
Michelle Carter 
NHS Tayside

Nominated by Julie Davidson

Julie valued continuity from Michelle throughout four pregnancies and her honest, professional support in difficult circumstances. The trust between mother and midwife stood out. Julie said:
‘I can’t put into words how special it has been having Michelle by my side throughout our journey to becoming a family of five.’

Winner, England – North region
Marie O’Brien 
Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Nominated by Laura Tatler

Marie was an impressive navigator for care, often contacting the consultant to clarify answers to questions. Laura said: ‘Marie made my first pregnancy and first month with my newborn an amazing experience, and I hope she can be there for the second child!’

Winner, England – South region
Ali Fuszard 
Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Nominated by Charlene Willoughby

Charlene felt empowered to have the home birth she wanted, thanks to Ali’s support and knowledge. Ali included the whole family in the pregnancy and after the birth, especially their toddler. Charlene said: ‘Ali is amazing and part of an amazing team.’ 

Winner, Northern Ireland 
Heather Campbell 
South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust

Nominated by Rachel Leonard

Heather extended compassion and empathy to Rachel during a difficult pregnancy. This was a good example of how a midwife can tailor care to particular needs. The judges were impressed that Heather coordinated a multidisciplinary approach to care.

A MATTER OF HONOUR: THE NEW HONORARY FELLOWS OF THE RCM

This year, the RCM has awarded honorary fellowships to three exceptional individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the profession.

David Foster 

David has been one of the greatest supporters of midwives, especially in his role at the Department of Health (DH) where, as a civil servant, he advised ministers and policy teams on midwifery, nursing and allied health professionals issues, and masterminded the delivery of Midwifery 2020.

‘I am delighted the RCM has recognised that influencing policy can have a positive impact on clinical care,’ he says.

David trained in nursing at the Middlesex Hospital, London, and in midwifery at Falkirk and Stirling Royal Infirmaries in Scotland. His postgraduate career focused on adult intensive care nursing before he moved into professional leadership roles. Before moving to the DH, he was director of nursing at Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust.

Over the years, he has always remained committed and steadfast in supporting midwifery and the midwifery profession without appearing biased. 

His influence and support of the profession resulted in the DH committing to ensure there was an alternative to replace supervision of midwives. Without his intervention – and his collaboration with the four government chief nursing officers – the midwifery profession would have nothing. The voice of midwifery and rational thought in relation to midwifery practice within the DH has definitely diminished since he left.

David describes being made honorary fellow of the RCM as ‘an extraordinary, unexpected and greatly appreciated accolade’.

‘I am humbled to be joining a prestigious group of midwives and others whose impact on women, babies and the profession is highly respected, and whose significance will endure for many years to come,’ he says.

Rona McCandlish 

Qualifying as a midwife in the 1980s, Rona has more than 25 years of experience in various leadership roles at national level – including in perinatal research, developing professional standards and national policy for maternity services, and in evaluating safety and quality in healthcare. 

She has been an epidemiologist in maternal health, leading multidisciplinary teams and collaborative networks at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, and was inaugural professor and HoM at the University of Southampton. Rona has also been a midwifery advisor at the Department of Health in England and was national professional advisor (maternity) at the Care Quality Commission. 

Her background in healthcare strategy development and delivery, evaluation of service standards and delivery, and reviewing quality and safety of maternity services has supported and influenced RCM strategic objectives. 

Rona was key to the development of RCM standards for midwifery services in 2016, and in the same year co-chaired a multidisciplinary stakeholder group that produced an RCM/RCOG framework for standards in maternity services.  

A non-executive director on the board of NICE for nine years, she is a member of the wide and influential network of senior midwives who strive to ensure midwives’ contributions are fully taken into account to make the difference for women and their families.

‘It’s great to be honoured in this way but, really, it’s as much for the people I have worked with who have given me the opportunity to think about midwifery and the contribution that midwives make,’ says Rona.  

Gail Johnson

Gail joined the RCM in November 2005 as a professional advisor for education. She has been instrumental in developing i-learn, the online learning resource and one of the RCM’s most successful products. Currently, i-learn has over 100 courses with 19,000 members regularly accessing it, and much of its success can be attributed to Gail’s determination and enthusiasm.

Gail has also led on the development of the RCM’s leadership offer, continually adapting it to meet the changing context in which midwives work. An example of this is the labour ward leaders’ workshop, ‘Working together for safe care’, which has been shortlisted for a Health Service Journal award. 

Her work brings funds into the RCM to finance specific projects around i-learn and leadership for the benefit of members.

She has been the RCM’s acknowledged expert on reducing stillbirth and improving bereavement care, working with other clinicians, government departments and families’ organisations. This included the annual collaborative bereavement conference co-hosted with Sands and Bliss.  

Over the past two years, she has found the energy and resources, largely in her spare time, to edit Mayes’ midwifery (15th edition), one of the mainstays of midwifery education.   

Gail says she is ‘really delighted’ to have been awarded the honorary fellowship.  

‘It’s a massive honour,’ she says. But Gail notes that she has been fortunate to receive support and help from colleagues in her RCM work.   

‘Their guidance has been invaluable,’ she says. ‘I look forward to continuing the work to ensure that we meet the needs of RCM members and maternity services.’

THANKS TO ALL OUR SPONSORS

A support resource for mums-to-be and new parents, Emma’s Diary has been giving mums credible information, advice, product samples and online support for over 25 years – supporting every stage of her journey into parenthood. Emma’s Diary has a valued partnership with the RCGP and is delighted to be an RCM Alliance partner and to sponsor the Mums’ Midwife of the Year award for the third year running. 

W: emmasdiary.co.uk 

E: [email protected]

Johnson & Johnson, the maker of JOHNSON’S®, an Alliance partner since 2004, is proud to work with the RCM, supporting midwives in their work to care for mothers and babies. JOHNSON’S® partnership with the RCM is highly valued and we are pleased to be able to sponsor these awards, celebrating the hard work and dedication of midwives.

W: johnsonsbaby.co.uk/healthcare-professionals 

E: [email protected]

With over 100 years of heritage built on health and nutrition, Kellogg’s All-Bran recognises the role of midwives in helping women improve their digestive health. Around 40% of pregnant women experience constipation, and increasing intake of wheat bran fibre is a simple, effective, natural way to help.

W: kelloggsnutrition.com

E: [email protected]

Lansinoh is dedicated to encouraging and supporting breastfeeding mothers when they need it most. It offers a range of high-quality, clinically tested products and thoughtful support and information, based on a combination of scientific knowledge and real-life experience.

W: lansinoh.co.uk/professional

Slimming World recognises the importance of healthy lifestyles and weight management to the health of expectant mums and their children. Established in 1969, we’ve been supporting women and families to adopt healthier lifestyles for more than 48 years and hold 18,000 weekly groups across the UK and Ireland. We are delighted to be sponsoring the Partnership Working award. 

W: slimmingworld.co.uk/health

E: [email protected]

Vitabiotics Pregnacare® is the UK’s number one pregnancy supplement brand, providing special nutritional care for before, during and after pregnancy. The range includes Pregnacare® Conception for women who are trying for a baby, Original, Liquid, Plus and Max for throughout pregnancy, and Breastfeeding and New Mum for postnatal health.

W: pregnacare.com

E: [email protected]

Sands operates throughout the UK, supporting anyone affected by the death of a baby, working in partnership with health professionals to ensure bereaved parents and families receive the best possible care, and promoting and funding research that could help to reduce the loss of babies’ lives.

W: sands.org.uk

 

With an unrivalled history of supporting trade unions and their members, Thompsons Solicitors is proud to sponsor the RCM’s 2018 Members’ Champion award. We have the most comprehensive UK network of lawyers, acting exclusively for the injured and mistreated – never for employers and never for insurers. 

W: thompsonstradeunion.law/trade-unions/rcm

T: 0808 100 7776

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