In March 2019 Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent was appointed as England’s first Chief Midwifery Officer to improve care for new and expectant mothers and their children and promote safer births in England.
The role will oversee delivery of a package of measures building on increased safety and support in maternity care and is the most senior midwife in England, providing professional, strategic and clinical leadership to colleagues working across the country.
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 physiotherapy for mums recovering after labour and improved care for critically ill new-borns.
In her new role, the Chief Midwifery Officer will lead the implementation of Better Births through the Maternity Transformation Programme making maternity services in England one of the best in the world delivering safe personalised care to women and their families.
The Chief Midwifery Officer will focus on refreshing the public perception of the role of the midwife in England. The growth and development of the midwifery workforce will be a key focus of the Chief Midwifery Officer’s role and midwifery is included in the national workforce plan. The perceptions of midwifery work will have a renewed focus on: midwifery being a career of choice and a career for life, supported by career pathways that strengthen the growth of the diverse midwifery roles.
The recent Lancet Midwifery series (2014) highlighted that outcomes for women and babies are associated with the care provided by educated and highly trained midwives. There are even greater benefits when care is provided to women by a midwife who is known to them [Sandall et al ] this is known as Continuity of Carer and the ambition is to provide the majority of women in England with this type of maternity care.
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