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Great work of Northants midwives spotlighted at major conference

MR1386 IDM Maternity Winners 2023

Maternity award winners

The amazing ways local midwives support women, babies and their families, was showcased at a conference held to celebrate the International Day of the Midwife, May 5, 2023.

The University Hospitals of Northamptonshire event was attended by NHS England’s Chief Midwifery Officer - Jacque Dunkley-Bent –who witnessed the achievements of midwifery teams from Kettering and Northampton general hospitals over the last 12-18 months.

In addition the event recognised the achievements of local midwives who have been voted for by their colleagues including; Midwife of the Year.

Key work highlighted at the conference – the first of its kind in Northamptonshire – included:

  • Sensitive support for bereaved families - Building on ground-breaking national pilot work carried out at KGH in 2018 the hospital has continued to develop its bereavement support work to a gold standard other hospitals can learn from. It now has a consultant obstetrican and bereavement midwife-led Rainbow Clinic which offers ongoing care to women who have previously lost a baby in the anxious time leading up to a subsequent birth. At NGH the team have developed enhanced training and a new bereavement support worker post in addition to the care provided by its specialist bereavement midwives. Both KGH and NGH are fundraising - with the support of the Northamptonshire Healthcare Charity and local families - to develop significantly improved facilities on their sites for bereaved families through the Twinkling Stars Appeal (KGH) and Daisy Suite Appeal (NGH).
  • Pre-term births – Both hospitals have established the role of Pre-Term Birth Lead Midwives – staff specially trained to support mothers likely to have premature babies. KGH has already developed a Pre-term Birth Prevention Clinic and NGH plan to do so this year. The aim is to improve care to better predict, prevent and prepare and plan for pre-term births.
  • Fetal Monitoring – Midwives at KGH and NGH have been building on and enhancing their team’s skills in fetal monitoring – the process of monitoring a baby’s vital signs and mum’s fetal contractions during labour. Additional training and assessment of staff skills has been delivered to a high standard.
  • Clinical Audits – This is the way hospitals check that staff are working to the highest possible standards and highlighting any areas for improvement and further training. Teams at both KGH and NGH have regular meetings between the different staff involved in this and ensure any learning from audits is passed on, considered and where necessary acted on.

Deputy Director of Midwifery at KGH, Mara Tonks, said: “Today’s conference celebrated some of the amazing work that has been done by our midwifery teams from across the county to improve care for babies and their families.

“A lot of this work may be ‘behind the scenes’ from a family’s point of view but it is vitally important in developing safe care which improves outcomes for mums and their babies.

“Our goal at the University Hospitals of Northamptonshire – the group which runs both KGH and NGH – is to make Northamptonshire the safest place in England to have your baby.”

Ilene Machiva, Deputy Director of Midwifery at NGH, said: “It was fantastic to see the enthusiasm and innovation being displayed by our teams as they aim to improve care for local families throughout the birthing journey.

“It was also lovely to be able to celebrate the work of some of most compassionate and inspiring midwives voted for by their colleagues.”

A host of awards were presented and included Leadership Awards, Unsung Hero, Educator and Mentor of Year, Midwife of the Year and various other awards.

Ellie Whitley was voted Midwife of the Year at Northampton General Hospital for “Going above and beyond for the women in her care. She establishes strong relationships with them whilst providing excellent care. She is a fantastic team player and is always first to offer support to colleagues in need.”

Rachel Huitson was voted Midwife of the Year at Kettering General Hospital for “Her commitment to the team and working ethic is outstanding. No problem is too big and she inspire the team she works with and keeps everyone calm. It is a pleasure working with Rachel, she is such a caring and compassion member of the team.”.

NHS England’s Chief Midwifery Officer, Jacque Dunkley-Bent OBE, said: “It was a privilege to be invited to the University Hospitals of Northamptonshire conference on International Day of the Midwife – it is clear that the midwifery teams I met are passionate about innovation and best-practice midwifery care, and are working hard to make their maternity care safer, more personalised, and more equitable for the women, babies, and families they serve. Congratulations to Ellie and Rachel on their peer-nominated awards, they really are great examples of compassionate care and commitment to the midwifery profession.”

Speakers at the event included Jacque Dunkley-Bent OBE (NHS England’s Chief Midwifery Officer, Janet Driver, (Regional Chief Midwife) Harriett Turner, Northamptonshire's Maternity Voices Partnership Chair, Professor James Walker (Maternity Investigations at Healthcare Service Investigation Branch Clinical Director) and Sara Ledger Head of Research and Development at Baby Lifeline.

Posted on Wednesday 10th May 2023
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