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Northampton midwives win big at national awards

RCM collage for website

Samukeliso, Fatima, Anne and Claire receive their awards

Four midwives from Northampton General Hospital have scooped national awards, recognising their contribution to maternity services.

They received their Royal College of Midwives (RCM) awards at a glittering ceremony in London, hosted by presenter and musician Myleene Klass.

Two of the four midwives from Northampton General Hospital were honoured with the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Race Matters Award.

Fatima Ghaouch and Samukeliso Sibanda received the first ever RCM Race Matters award for their work in supporting pregnant Black, Asian and minority ethnic women during the pandemic.

As well as providing additional support to these women, they have also been working hard to raise awareness of racial inequalities that exist in the NHS.

This has included introducing reverse mentoring with hospital directors coming into clinical areas to experience the working lives of Black midwives and meet the women in their caseloads.

NGH Continuity of Care Matron Fatima said: “We are delighted to have received national recognition for the work we are doing to support and champion the needs of families from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.

“This was particularly important during the pandemic because of the concerns around Covid-19’s impact on minority communities and also because people from these backgrounds can have more problems during their pregnancy.”

NGH Continuity of Care Team Leader Samukeliso said: “Part of our work was participating in reverse mentoring where we mentored some of our directors so they could experience what our day-to-day work involved and get insight into the issues raised. It has also increased our confidence that that our work is valued and of great importance. Receiving this national award has also further increased that recognition.”

Picking up the Excellence in Maternity Care During a Global Pandemic award, Anne Richley and Claire Dale were recognised for their work in keeping community maternity services running during the pandemic. In just a few days Anne, Claire, and their colleagues, set up alternative locations for mums-to-be to receive their midwifery support when local services had to be relocated from GP surgeries.

They had support from a professional rugby club and stadium, and local police, and set up community midwifery support services in VIP boxes and other rooms at cinch Stadium in Franklins Gardens.

Even when professional rugby returned in March 2021, the pair were undaunted. Using social media and the local Maternity Voice Partnership (MVP), they sourced premises to house several community hubs across the area. This meant that women could continue to see their midwives in a safe environment.

Anne, who was community midwifery matron at the time (she retired in September and is now a bank midwife), said: “We are delighted to have won the award and I think it is a wonderful tribute recognising the relentless amount of extra hours the team worked in order to create safe spaces for the women who understandably felt vulnerable going to hospital in the midst of the pandemic.”

Community midwifery sister Claire said: “It is lovely to have received national recognition for the way our team of 57 community midwives and maternity support workers all worked together to get new community midwifery locations set up for the families we serve.”

Commenting, RCM’s Chief Executive, Gill Walton said:

Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the RCM, said: “Fatima, Samukeliso, Anne and Claire are a real credit not only to the Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, but to the midwifery profession as a whole. To win one award is an achievement, but to scoop two in a single year is extraordinary and really demonstrates the care, compassion and commitment they all put into their work. There is no doubt that the past two years have been tough. That’s why it’s been so important to come together, to celebrate these fantastic achievements, delivered in spite of a global pandemic.”

Northampton General Hospital’s Chief Executive, Heidi Smoult, said: “At Northampton General, we are incredibly proud of Claire, Anne, Fatima and Sam, and the exceptional work they have done for women and families.  Winning these awards is a true testament to their hard and commitment to the diverse communities of Northamptonshire during a time of immense strain on the NHS.  I began my NHS career as a midwife and I feel immensely proud to be the Hospital CEO working with these talented midwives.”

Posted on Friday 29th October 2021
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