Claire Mathews – Regional Chief Midwife
Claire Mathews is an experienced and passionate midwifery leader, who prior to joining the North West as Regional Chief Midwife Claire held various senior midwifery positions including Deputy Head of Maternity and National Maternity Safeguarding Lead at NHS England and Improvement. Claire has served as Head of Midwifery in one of the smallest, largest multi-site and largest single site maternity services in England.
Claire has extensive senior operational, professional and strategic leadership experience including the design, development and opening of both alongside and freestanding midwifery led birth units; continuity of carer team implementation and pathway development; plus, the design of the Continuity of Carer workforce planning tool kit, now in use nationally.
Proud to be a direct entry midwife, since qualifying Claire continued to study a wide breadth of subjects from Community Specialist Public Health Nursing to MBA.
Claire led the Perceptions of Midwifery Programme on behalf of England’s first Chief Midwifery Officer, recruiting over 100 Midwifery Ambassadors across England to help transform the public perception of the profession as portrayed in the media; working closely with the current midwifery workforce to improve attrition rates and improve retention and engaging with children and young people to ensure the profession is considered as a first profession of choice, thus strengthening the future workforce pipeline.
Claire has recently returned from a career break in Qatar where she worked on the National Strategy for Healthy Women Leading to Healthy Pregnancies including the scope of practice, competency framework and implementation of midwifery as a registered licenced profession in the country. Alongside the development of the regulatory framework Claire led on the introduction of midwifery led care across Hamad Medical Corporation.
Michelle Waterfall – Deputy Regional Chief Midwife
Michelle has been a registered midwife for over 20 years. During her career she has worked in all maternity clinical and gained significant leadership and managerial experience. This lived leadership experience has been in enhanced when Michelle successful completed an MBA in 2021.
Michelle joined the NW regional maternity team in March 2021 and is determined to use this opportunity to support LMNSs and maternity providers to strive towards the vision of the North West being the safest place to give birth, where women and birth people choose to birth, and the midwifery workforce choose to work.
Neesha Ridley – Regional Maternity Workforce Lead
Neesha is a qualified midwife, with over 15 years’ experience as a midwife and a qualified midwifery educator. Neesha worked as a clinical midwife, working in all areas of maternity services before becoming the programme lead for midwifery education in a local university. Neesha then worked for Health Education England before becoming the regional workforce lead in the NW maternity team for NHS England.
Neesha has a passion and an ambition that all people should be able to access safe, kind and evidence based maternity care and that all maternity workforce members should receive support, to enable them to support women and their families when delivering compassionate care.
Mandy Platt – Programme Manager
Mandy joined the team in January 2021 as MTP programme manager, she is a qualified midwife with over 20 years’ experience, she also qualified as a PMA in 2017. Mandy has worked previously in all areas of maternity, most recently prior to her joining the team she worked in clinical quality and service improvement.
Mandy is passionate about improving safety and outcomes in maternity services.
Stiliyana Minkovska – Public & Patient Voices Lead
Stiliyana is a fully qualified architect (ARB/RIBA) and a human-centred healthcare designer, whose entire design practice is dedicated to humanising the reproductive experiences of women and people with uteruses.
Stiliyana graduated with MRes in Healthcare & Design with the Royal College of Art & Imperial College London in June 2022 and her personal project developed during the course was awarded with distinction. During the two-year-long course she founded M.O.T.H.E.R. &Design – Midwifery & Obstetric Transformations in Healthcare Environments through Research & Design. It exists as a vehicle offering a set of creative problem-solving lens to one of the most profound experiences and the most common reason for hospital admission in England – childbirth.
She works as a Service Designer at Acacium Group, the largest healthcare solutions partner in the UK. She is the Maternity Patient & Public Voices Lead for NHS England & Improvement in the North West. Her role as a PPV Lead is rooted in her ambition to improve perinatal experiences for women and birthing people by offering design thinking and creative problem-solving lenses whilst working closely with Service Users and the North West NHS Perinatal Board Members – a small role with a huge impact.
Professor Alexander Heazell MBChB(Hons) PhD FRCOG
Alexander Heazell is the Regional Lead Obstetrician for the North West. Since 2017 he has been Professor of Obstetrics and Director of the Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre, University of Manchester, UK.
His research portfolio includes basic science, clinical and qualitative research studies to gain better understanding in order to understand the causes of placental dysfunction, to prevent stillbirth and improve care for parents after stillbirth or perinatal death.
He was the lead investigator for the MiNESS case control study and national evaluation of Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle (SBLCB).
He is currently leading a follow-up evaluation of Version 2 of the SBLCB. He is on the national steering group of the Perinatal Mortality Review Tool in the UK.
He also established the Rainbow Clinic at Saint Mary’s Hospital that has now been replicated in over 25 hospitals in the UK and overseas.
Steffi joined the NW Maternity team in March 2023 as Project & Business Support Officer, collaborating to successfully develop procedures & processes in-line with current targets & objectives whilst providing streamlined business support
Following their degree, Steffi travelled internationally as a Hospitality Manager, returning to the UK & starting their administrative career in 2013, working in a variety of roles, including: multi-country PMO for JLR & Aston Martin; Executive Assistant for RHC Ltd & Prospect; & Multi-Site Administrator for Merseylink. Steffi joined NHSE’s NW Finance team as temporary staff during Covid, in June 2020, progressed to a permanent contract with the NW Nursing team & has recently completed a secondment in the National Commercial team, enjoying the challenge of managing a range of complex tasks & projects
Steffi is currently a disappointed Liverpool fan (there are many) but does have high hopes they can win a premiership title….in another 30 years
Steffi’s is based in Liverpool & lives on a boat & enjoys: kayaking, swimming, hiking, yoga, & festivals – with a passion for electronic music, art & travel, & amongst other interests & is a bad golfer, but an all-round good egg 😊