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Wigan Maternity Support Workers win national maternity care award

Newsdate: 27 January 2014

In the photo from left to right: Dr Suzanne Tyler (RCM Director for Services to Members), Cathy Warwick (RCM Chief Executive), Maternity Support Workers Anne Allen and Julie Middlehurst, Natasha Kaplinsky (Event Host)Two maternity support workers (MSWs) representing Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Foundation Trust have returned from London after scooping one of the country’s most prestigious midwifery awards.

Anne Allen and Julie Middlehurst triumphed against more than 200 competitors from NHS hospitals across England to win the ‘RCM i-learn Maternity Support Worker’ award at The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Midwifery Awards.

Delighted to be honoured as winners of the RCM’s first ever award for maternity support workers, Julie and Anne received their ‘RCM i-learn Maternity Support Worker Award’ trophy from television news personality Natasha Kaplinsky during a glittering event at The Brewery in London on Wednesday.

Diane Swindlehurst, WWL Head of Midwifery, Children’s & Patient Services, said: “We are so proud of Anne and Julie for their achievement. Their success is a tribute to NHS staff who do extraordinary things. It is a real honour and so well deserved.

“Today’s award recognises the work of the Wigan Integrated Health Support Team and is a deserved reward for the contributions made by local healthcare workers who improve women’s care and their experience of pregnancy and childbirth.”

“We also thank the RCM Awards for their invaluable work in promoting high quality frontline work in maternity care.”

Julie and Anne are two key members of the Wigan Integrated Health Service Team (IHST), a multi-disciplinary service who provide one-to-one practical parenting support and education to the most vulnerable pregnant women and their families in Wigan borough.

RCM award judges were ‘impressed by the passion, enjoyment and pride of both Anne and Julie in delivering practical parenting support and education to vulnerable women and their families. The personal growth and development of Julie and Anne shone through. They are making a difference.’

Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “To win this award is a real achievement. Without maternity support workers, midwives, their teams and colleagues from other health professions pushing at the boundaries of practice we would not see the care they are able to give to women, babies and their families.”

“I congratulate Anne and Julie on this achievement and thank them and their colleagues for their dedication, skill and commitment to vulnerable mothers, babies and their families.”

The Wigan IHST consists of 3 Public Health Midwives, 2 Midwifery Support Workers, a Speech and Language Therapist and a Family Support Worker. Operated by WWL and commissioned by Wigan Borough Council Public Health department, the IHST Team provides care and support for baby bathing, breast feeding, formula feeding and safe sleeping.

“IHST clients have complex needs and the team starts work early in pregnancy with care continuing on the maternity ward and postnatal care up to 6 weeks after the baby’s birth,” added Diane Swindlehurst.

In the photo above from left to right: Dr Suzanne Tyler (RCM Director for Services to Members), Cathy Warwick (RCM Chief Executive), Maternity Support Workers Anne Allen and Julie Middlehurst, Natasha Kaplinsky (Event Host)

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