First Chief Midwife appointed to ‘promote safer births’

They will develop new policies to ensure England becomes an even safer place to give birth.

Sarah Jane
17 March 2019
Pregnant woman in hospital and fetal heartbeat monitor

The new Chief Midwifery Officer will become the most senior midwife in England ensuring better care for parents and babies.

The NHS has appointed England’s first Chief Midwife to improve care for new and expectant mothers and their children and promote safer births as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.

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The Chief Midwifery Officer will become the most senior midwife in England, providing professional, strategic and clinical leadership alongside developing new policies to ensure England becomes an even safer place to give birth.

Professor Dunkley-Bent will be responsible for measures that upgrade support for new and growing families, including greater digital access to “red book” medical records, better access to physio for mums recovering after labour and improved care for critically ill newborns.

Commenting on her appointment, Professor Dunkley-Bent said: “I’m thrilled to be given the huge responsibility and privilege of serving families and my colleagues as England’s first Chief Midwifery Officer.

“Throughout my time as a midwife and nurse in our NHS, I’ve seen first-hand the life-changing difference that the care of midwives can make to children and parents, and as the health service sets out to deliver an ambitious programme to improve care and safety for mums-to-be and their babies,  I cannot think of a more vital, exciting and inspiring responsibility.”

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‘Giving children the best start in life’.

Announcing the move at the annual Chief Nursing Officer Summit, Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive, said: “Being there for families when a baby is born is amongst the most important roles the NHS plays.

“Giving children the best start in life puts them on course for a healthy future, which is why the NHS is investing in the best people, latest technology and world-class care to help mums-to-be and their families.

“The measures set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, from digital ‘red books’ to upgraded specialist perinatal mental health care, will mean new parents in England are among the most well-supported anywhere in the world.

“Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent has the skill, experience and determination to deliver for new and expectant mums and their families.”

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Professor Dunkley-Bent will take up her new role from 1st April 2019.

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