Jane Cleary, a consultant midwife at University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust has been honoured with the prestigious Chief Midwifery Officer award for her significant and outstanding contribution to midwifery practice.
The Chief Midwifery Award is one of the highest accolades for NHS staff to receive. It is awarded to healthcare staff for going beyond the expectations of their everyday role, demonstrating excellence in clinical practice, education, research, leadership and focusing on diversity and health inequalities.
On receiving the award, Jane expressed: “I was overwhelmed and delighted to receive the Chief Midwifery Award for my contribution to Midwifery. I have loved working within maternity services and remain passionate that we strive to listen to women and their families experience of pregnancy and birth to inform our services.”
“The role of a midwife in women’s experiences is fundamental and it is vital we recognise and raise the profile of this valuable profession for safe and positive outcomes for all women.”
With over 30 years in the NHS, Jane was one of the first midwives nationally to develop an in-house birth trauma service, transforming maternity services across the country and changing the lives of many people who need support.
‘Birth Stories’ was born in 2005 and saw expectant mothers and birthing parents self-refer up to a year after birth if they wanted to talk to a professional about their birth trauma, any fears or worries they had.
“It was a success from the word go, and it continues to be with a dedicated team at Royal Sussex County and Princess Royal hospitals” said Katie Christie, Consultant Midwife and close colleague of Jane.
Jane continues to advocate for and hear from birthing people and their families, which she uses as part of her education and training role for midwives and doctors.
She has supported many women, birthing parents and their families through pregnancy and birth, giving exceptional care and compassion to each of her patients. One mother that Jane looked after said:
“During the day of my daughter’s birth, my midwife Jane was with me. She helped me reach the decision to have another c-section, in the best interests of my baby and myself. We shared similar emotions about the way midwifery had progressed over the years and it was her genuine concern over this and her testimony to my courage in speaking out that helped confirm my decision to go ahead with the operation.”
Jane was presented with her award by her UHSussex colleagues and Deputy Chief Midwifery Officer for NHS England, Jessica Read and Deputy Regional Chief Midwife, Angela Velinor.