And such was the standard of both their nominations, the judges named Karen Murray and Gill Singleton as joint winners of the award. And to cap the evening off, fellow Tameside Hospital midwife Emma Ellison was named third in the Excellence in Supervision category.
“We were all delighted,” said Mottram mum-of-three Gill, who has spent her entire 16 year career training and working at Tameside. “We were very surprised, especially when they announced that Karen and I were joint winners. That was a nice outcome, especially as we had gone into it knowing we were up against each other!
“Tameside isn’t the biggest midwifery unit in the country, so it is nice for us to be recognised in this way. This award is one for the whole team here – we are like a big family and I couldn’t think of working anywhere else.”
Karen, from Ashton, added: “I couldn’t believe it when they read out our names. I didn’t know I had been nominated until a week before the awards, so to go down and win was a big surprise and a huge honour.”
The mum of two has worked at Tameside for over 30 years – 25 of which have been as a midwife.
“The thing about the midwives at Tameside is that we are all willing to go the extra mile. We may not have the biggest maternity unit, but as a result, we know the women better and are able to offer that personal touch which is what leads to real excellence.”
All three midwives were in attendance at the ceremony in London last week, which is run by run by MA Healthcare and the British Journal of Midwifery.
Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s Head of Midwifery Lesley Tones said: “Karen, Gill and Emma were delighted just to be shortlised for these awards. However, to achieve the fabulous success of joint first place for the Midwife of the Year Award and third place for Excellence in Supervision is just unbelievable.
“Their awards are thoroughly deserved and acknowledge the calibre of the midwives that we have at Tameside. The judges recognised this hospital’s commitment to ensuring that women get the best possible care by the best midwives in the country.”
Karen Murray is the Antenatal Screening Midwife at Tameside Hospital and was joint winner of the Midwife of the Year award.
Karen has been a midwife for 25 years, working her way through the ranks and took up the role of Antenatal Screening Midwife in 2009. She provides midwifery support for the foetal medicine service which deals with women and their families when potential abnormalities have been detected at ante natal screening.
Lesley said: “The service which Karen offers is responsive to the needs of women and their families during a time of extreme anxiety and distress. She provides a thread of continuity and support during the screening and diagnostic processes through to the end of pregnancy.
“Karen strives at all times to give women and their families the highest level of care at all times and goes the extra mile or three, giving of herself without question. She does this in an unassuming way. Karen is a role model that every midwife should aspire to.”
Gill was joint winner of the Midwife of the Year award, having been nominated by her Supervisor of Midwives, Carole Proteus at Manchester University.
Gill has worked at Tameside Hospital as a midwife since she qualified in 1999. She successfully completed a master’s degree whilst working on the central delivery suite at Tameside and was awarded a masters degree in clinical research in 2011 from the University of Manchester. She has since developed and strengthened her research profile to support evidence based practice.
Gill is currently the local principal investigator for the Healthy Eating and Lifestyle in Pregnancy (HELP) study being undertaken by Cardiff University. And so far she has recruited 29 women with a raised BMI in pregnancy to join Slimming World the aim being to reduce weight gain in pregnancy.
Nominating Gill, Carole Proteus said: “It is my pleasure to nominate a grass roots midwife who is making a significant difference to practice for the benefit of women and midwives alike. As well as being a proactive Supervisor of Midwives, Gill is a respected member of the multidisciplinary team atTamesideHospital. As a strong advocate for women’s choice, Gill is keen to promote and maintain normality, by empowering and supporting midwives.”
Gill has strong links with Manchester University and is a regular mentor to students.
Emma Ellison, one of Tameside Hospital’s Supervisor of Midwives, came third in the Excellence in Supervision category.
Emma has been a midwife at Tameside Hospitalsince she completed her midwifery training 15 years ago. She has worked in the community and was appointed as a Supervisor of Midwives in 2010.
“Emma is an absolute asset to the team,” said Lesley Tones, Head of Midwifery, “she has always been committed to woman-centred care and feels that the views of the women here are really important to build upon and improve the services we provide.”
Emma was nominated for her work to devise and pilot a questionnaire to gain the views of women and raise the profile of supervision in midwifery.