This is a secondment for me, with our previous Head of Midwifery, Lesley stepping out of the organisation for around 6 months to take up a prestigious secondment at NHS England as a Maternity Improvement Advisor. I am really delighted to join the maternity team.
I have worked for the Trust for four years, most recently as Head of Quality and Patient Experience. At every opportunity though, I have come back to work within our maternity services. Last year the final part of my PhD was hosted within the maternity team. Here we held a number of groups between our staff and women and birthing people (and their babies) to improve how we care for gestational diabetes. We made some fantastic improvements to the service and it was wonderful to see our CMO Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent come and present awards to members of our team!
My NHS background has been quite diverse. Over the last decade I have mainly worked in leadership roles locally, nationally and abroad. One of my proudest moments was to stand, as a midwife, to address Parliament at Leinster House in Dublin on transformational change.
I knew I wanted to be a Midwife somewhere between 16-18 years ago. When I experienced a very rare molar pregnancy (when a baby and a placenta do not develop the way they should) and gestational trophoblastic disease (abnormal cells or tumours that start in the womb from cells that would normally develop into the placenta). It was a very scary time and the care unfortunately wasn’t what we hoped it would be at a national hospital. Fast forward a couple of years, I welcomed my own rainbow baby 16 years ago, as a bouncing 8lb 15oz (big) baby boy, and I experienced what good care was like. That care and my experiences have stuck with me since and I have never forgotten the midwife who cared for me that day. On our recent Care Quality Commission maternity inspection, I saw this same care provided. It was a privilege to be a small part of this with the team, speaking with staff and women and birthing people and hearing fabulous stories and experiences of what being part of our team is like.
Midwifery requires kindness and compassion. It is the most precious time for a family. I’m always impressed by the hard work and dedication to providing high quality care and experiences for women, birthing people and their families that I see from our staff, whether in the community, in women’s health, on our ward, on pregnancy assessment unit, labour ward, those supporting in main theatres, Special Care Baby Unit and beyond.
As my role as Head of Midwifery is strategic, I know that I won’t be the midwife at the point of care helping women and birthing people to birth their babies, but I hope I can still make a difference. I am really excited to support and build upon the fantastic work and projects already underway.
I wish all of the team and midwives everywhere a Happy International Day of the Midwife.