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On International Day of the Midwife (5th May), Chief Nursing Officer for Wales Sue Tranka joined with midwifery teams in Cardiff University and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board to celebrate midwives across Wales and announce the latest winners of her new excellence awards.

First published:
6 May 2022
Last updated:

Sue visited the WHO Collaborating Centre for Midwifery Development and University Hospital Wales.

Recipients of the Chief Nursing Officer’s excellence awards are:

Donna James from Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. The first digital midwife in the health board, Donna has transformed services and increased safety for families by enhancing communication between them and the service. Donna is self-taught in computer programming, and the electronic pregnancy referral system built during the pandemic has resulted in quicker, more convenient access to maternity care, and significant time savings for staff.

The Snowdrop bereavement team at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board – Lucy Dobbins, Sarah Griffith and Jan Garrod. A specialist team of midwives providing invaluable bereavement support to parents and families experiencing pregnancy or baby loss in North Wales. The team accepts referrals from gynaecology, maternity and neonatal services and offers crucial support to families who have experienced loss at any point including stillbirth, termination of pregnancy for medical reasons and neonatal death up to 28 days. This can take the form of emotional support, information to help parents cope with loss, and even supporting families through the difficult journey of investigations with the Perinatal Mortality review tool.

Sue also announced the midwifery award for Quality Improvement in Service in partnership with RCM Wales. The winner was a multi-organisational midwifery education team comprised of Nicky Court, Helen Etheridge, Elizabeth Rees and Suzie Moore. They demonstrated collaborative working between Swansea University and two health boards. The aim of the initiative was to support and build confidence in students and professional colleagues by putting midwifery skills at the core of their practice. An inter-dependent education for the future midwife was developed and a collaborative workshop was implemented to enhance midwifery skills in supporting physiological birth. This practice has helped students and staff to have enhanced experiences within clinical practice and the women to have more positive birthing experiences.

Sue paid tribute to the winners saying:

It’s important the midwifery profession is recognised for the vital role it plays in people’s lives. It’s been fantastic to hear about the commitment of colleagues across Wales and to celebrate the role of midwives, who are central to people’s maternity care. These awards are a reflection of how much I value the dedication of the award winners, and I want to congratulate and thank them for all of their efforts.

Joining Sue at the inaugural awards was Karen Jewell in her first engagement as Chief Midwifery Officer for Wales.

Karen has had a long career in the NHS, including as a consultant midwife and has led maternity policy in Welsh Government since November 2016.

As well as leading on maternity services Karen is also the professional lead for health visiting, school nursing and community children’s nursing with a keen focus on early years and children and ensuring policy and health services work together to promote the best start in life.

Sue added:

The role of Chief Midwifery Officer strengthens our commitment to the profession – I’m pleased to have Karen in this role, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with her as we look to the future for nursing and midwifery care in Wales.

Record numbers of people are training to become midwives in Wales. Since 2016, midwifery training places have almost doubled. The Welsh Government is investing to improve programmes and provide safe, quality, equitable maternity services for families in Wales. 

The new Chief Midwifery Officer for Wales Karen Jewell said:

I’m thrilled Wales officially has a Chief Midwifery Officer and feel privileged to serve Welsh families and my colleagues in this new role. Maternity services are a key focus for the Chief Nursing Officer and we have many opportunities ahead to achieve the quality, safe and effective maternity services in Wales, which every family should expect and receive.