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National recognition for Suffolk maternity team colleague

A staff member at the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) has been recognised with an award from the Chief Midwifery Officer for England (CMidO), for her outstanding contribution to the development of maternity support workers.

Kate Brintworth, CMidO, presented Theresa Lancaster, education and practice development lead for maternity support workers (MSWs), with her award certificate and badge during a visit to the West Suffolk Hospital (WSH) in Bury St Edmunds.

Theresa was nominated by colleagues in the maternity team for the award, which recognises the vital contribution of MSWs in England and their exceptional support of nursing and midwifery practice. The citation said the award recognised Theresa’s exceptional commitment to enhancing support staffs’ professional development and elevating their recognition within the maternity unit.

Sharon Baragry, practice development midwife at WSFT, said: “Theresa was chosen from the vast number of entries due to her continuing support of the MSWs and maternity care assistants (MCAs) at the Trust. She is relentless in growing their skills, helping them with apprenticeships, completion of care certificates and continued development of these often underappreciated, but core members of the team. She is a hugely valued colleague, and the work she has done to raise the profile and profession of the support workers is incredible.”

Theresa said the presentation had been a complete surprise: “As part of the NHS East of England 60 steps to safety initiative, Kate Brintworth was here to carry out a review of the service, with Wendy Matthews, regional chief midwife and director of nursing. I was told I was needed and went along with my notebook, and suddenly saw a lot of people including the two chief midwives.

“When they read out the citation, I was shaking, it was so lovely and mentioned so many things about me. Kate Brintworth said she had never given out a CMidO award to a support worker before. I think of this as a sign of the value of maternity support workers and maternity care assistants, raising awareness of all they do, and I accepted it on behalf of all support staff. I am honoured that, although we are a small team, we have had a visit from the CMidO for England.”

Kate Brintworth, chief midwifery officer for England, said: ““Theresa is a true asset to the West Suffolk maternity team, and her passion to ensure that vital maternity support staff are supported to develop and thrive, is second to none.

“Helping to ensure her maternity colleagues gain qualifications and attend regular study days to stay up to date with training, will improve the quality of care for women, babies and families – well done Theresa, and thank you for all you do.”

Theresa, who lives near Bury St Edmunds, trained as a nursery nurse, and first linked with the WSH as a volunteer breastfeeding supporter for five years before joining the staff in 2010. Her role is focused on upskilling the Trust’s maternity support staff with the education required.

She said: “We have two MCAs doing level 3 apprenticeships, and those that achieve level 3 can apply to train to be midwives. We need to grow our own. I also work clinically, and teach the baby friendly initiative, which encourages breastfeeding, and parentcraft to expectant couples.”

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