Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent OBE, England’s Chief Midwifery Officer (CMidO) and the first ever postholder for this important role, visited North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust yesterday to see first-hand how the Trust is working to provide better care for mothers and babies and to celebrate the outstanding contribution of its staff.
Professor Dunkley-Bent was taken on a special tour of the unit by North Mid’s Chief Nurse, Sarah Hayes, and its acting Head of Midwifery and Gynaecology, Hazel Cathcart. The CMidO was shown some of the recent work delivered by its teams to drive improvements in maternity care, especially around perinatal mental health for patients. She also met with a number of the unit’s new parents and their babies to hear their personal stories and praise for the midwives.
As the country’s most senior midwife, Professor Dunkley-Bent is responsible for driving improvements in care for new and expectant mothers, building increased safety and support in maternity care and promoting safer births as part of Better Births, the report of the National Maternity Review, and the NHS Long Term Plan.
Alongside her NHS England and Improvement colleague Jessica Read, Deputy Chief Midwifery Officer, Professor Dunkley-Bent also presented two prestigious CMidO Awards - designed to recognise and reward the significant and outstanding contribution made by midwives in England – to two members of staff working within the unit.
Shereen Nimmo, Head of Midwifery and Gynaecology, received a silver CMidO award as a result of her leadership and commitment to excellence.
Fiona Laird, consultant midwife, was also presented with a gold CMidO award in recognition of her efforts to tackle perinatal mental health needs. In 2019, she launched a unique multidisciplinary team known as the Magnolia Midwives - consisting of midwives, an obstetrician, clinical psychologist and mental health nurse specialist - who care for women struggling with moderate or severe mental health issues, both throughout and after their pregnancy.
Pictured above, left to right: Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Fiona Laird with a newborn and Jessica Read.
On acceptance of her award, Fiona, who lives in Highams Park, said: “I love midwifery – I love it with a passion. I’ve had a fantastic career as a midwife and it’s taken me on amazing journey over the years. Thank you to those who nominated for this award.”
Professor Dunkley-Bent said: “The Chief Midwifery Officer Awards celebrate the ways that staff have gone above and beyond to improve care for women and their babies, as well as their contribution to the profession of midwifery as a whole. I was extremely proud to hear about the amazing work that has taken place and honoured to have the opportunity to present these awards to Shereen and Fiona.”
North Mid’s Chief Nurse, Sarah Hayes, added: “It was an absolute pleasure to welcome Jacqueline to North Mid and be one of the very first NHS Trusts that she’ll have visited nationwide during 2020. Her presence, recognition and words of encouragement to our teams was hugely appreciated and was a nice boost to start off our International Year of the Nurse and Midwife celebrations.”