Brookes reunites midwives and mothers in celebration of the impact of NHS on people’s lives

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

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Oxford Brookes-educated midwives were reunited with the babies they delivered and their parents at a special event at the University last week.

In the month that the NHS marked its 70th anniversary, the celebratory tea was held to recognise the impact of midwives on the lives on people in Oxford and beyond.

Ethel Burns, Senior Lecturer in Midwifery at Oxford Brookes University said: “This event was a well-earned opportunity to say a big thank you to local midwives for their amazing work in caring for women and their families, mentoring future midwives, and going that extra mile on a daily basis. The icing on the cake was to share the tea with pairings of mums, their offspring and the midwives who cared for them."

The 70-year history of the NHS has seen many changes in the provision of every health care speciality, including midwifery. However, the physiology of pregnancy, childbirth and puerperium remain the same.

Advances in research and technology have increased midwives’ knowledge and understanding of many aspects of the profession, including the important and sophisticated hormonal interplay between a woman and her baby during pregnancy, labour, birth and beyond.

Midwives have a core remit to do all that we can to facilitate women in our care to maximise their health and wellbeing during this exciting and life-changing period. This process of getting to know a woman and her family is a privilege and enables a relationship of trust and partnership to evolve.

Ethel Burns, Senior Lecturer in Midwifery, Oxford Brookes University

Ethel added: “Midwives have a core remit to do all that we can to facilitate women in our care to maximise their health and wellbeing during this exciting and life-changing period. This process of getting to know a woman and her family is a privilege and enables a relationship of trust and partnership to evolve.

“As a midwife who teaches the next generation of midwives, I emphasise the power of a sound knowledge base, flexibility, a listening ear and kindness in working alongside the women we care for. In essence, do as you would be done by – I doubt very much if this need will alter over the next 70 years whatever shape the NHS may assume."

Ethel delivered four babies across four births for Mairead O’Connor, who found it helpful to have consistent care and expert advice.

Mairead said: “I first met Ethel when I was pregnant and wanted more information on water births. She was able to give me lots of information as she is an expert in this area. Our relationship has grown stronger as she has supported me through pregnancy and the births of my four children. I consider Ethel a dear friend and she is very much a part of our lives.”

Fiona Rodden came along to the event to say thanks to her midwife Tracey Hatt, who - due to clashing schedules - she didn’t have the chance to catch-up with after the birth of her daughter Asha in April this year.

Fiona, who had complications during her pregnancy said of her experience: “I requested Tracey because she is so kind, patient, had a great sense of humour and is genuinely caring for her mums. I saw her throughout my second pregnancy and wholly agree that having a named midwife you trust makes an immense difference.

“I needed a fair amount of help to recover after and I was very sad not to see Tracey as my many appointments always seemed to clash with her other commitments. Though I know she made a point of finding out what happened I always wanted to see her again to say thank you so so much. In my mind Tracey is absolutely everything that embodies what we want from our midwives and the NHS as a whole. I have been so grateful to have her as my midwife. People like Tracey don't get enough thank-yous for the excellent work they do."

Ahead of the event Ethel, Mairead, Fiona and Tracey spoke to BBC Radio Oxford on Thursday morning. The Oxford Mail also covered the event and the article can be read online.

Image: Tori Fleet (right) with six-month old Annabella Baudrey-Grey. Tori was a student midwife to Lucy Grey (left)