TWO midwives at Newcastle Hospitals have been recognised for going above and beyond after being awarded prestigious Chief Midwifery Officer Awards.
Deputy Chief Midwifery Officers Sascha Wells-Munro and Jess Read presented midwives Diane Buggy and Sonja Kelly with their awards during a visit to the Royal Victoria Infirmary today (Tuesday 17 August).
Diane was awarded the Gold Award – recognising lifetime achievements for midwives – for her work supporting women in the west end of Newcastle.
Aware of the inequalities some woman in the area faced, particularly women who are refugees and asylum seekers, Diane saw the gaps that early help plans and routine intervention didn’t reach.
In response, she began collecting basic equipment which a new mother might need for herself and her baby as many of those she cared for had nothing and with no access to any resources.
She spent a lot of her own time increasing the network of mothers who could donate supplies and – in response to increasing demands for supplies – created Mothers to Mothers.
To begin with, Diane sourced items from mothers who donated their used items including baby clothes, baths and Moses baskets. She has subsequently set up an Amazon wish list which anyone can access and donate to.
Mothers to Mothers has now expanded and provides help to the women of Newcastle and Gateshead who are identified as vulnerable by a professional which includes family support workers, social workers and midwives.
On being presented with her award she said: “I am really delighted and overwhelmed to receive this award. I do this project to support our most vulnerable families.
Things have moved on recently and I have now managed to get some volunteers and expanded our services into Northumberland helping midwives and social services. People are so kind and the families that donate always get so much out of giving to other families who feel like someone cares for them. It is a really a win, win situation. ”
Sonja Kelly, who has been a midwife at the RVI since 2014, was presented with a Silver Award recognising her contribution to patients and the profession through her work with UK-Med.
Sonja is a registered member of UK-Med which is a core partner of the UK Government’s Emergency Medical Team (UK EMT), the frontline of the UK’s response to a humanitarian crisis overseas.
They also train local, regional and international medical teams across the world, providing support in capacity, building in resource to poor countries, and strengthening global response to major infectious disease outbreaks.
Sonja was part of a team who travelled to South Sudan in October 2019 to take part in the delivery of an essential obstetrics and neonatal care training course. This was the first maternal and reproductive health teaching visit for UK-Med and Sonja and the team trained 25 Sudanese staff.
During the visit she facilitated training and assessed local health needs in order to support the local Sudanese team in planning their future maternal and reproductive health work.
On receiving her award she said: “I am honoured to receive this award, I did not expect this. I have done a lot of work abroad over the years with different charities in some difficult challenging places, in places where people have no access to healthcare, this has not always been easy, but our work has a big impact on their lives.
I often bring back the experiences from overseas with colleagues and these have helped shape me to the midwife I am today – even giving me extra resilience to deal with the last 18 months.”
Associate director of midwifery at Newcastle Hospitals said: “I’m delighted that Diane and Sonja have been presented with their gold and silver awards. They go above and beyond in their roles and are a credit not only Newcastle Hospitals but as an ambassador for the midwifery profession. They have excelled in the care that they provide to women in our care and we are extremely proud of them.
“The last 18 months have been challenging for everyone and our maternity team here in Newcastle have continued to work so hard to care for women and their babies. It was a pleasure to be able to welcome both Sascha Wells-Munro and Jess Read to the unit today and showcase the outstanding work we do here.”