Partner organisations from across Bolton, Salford and Wigan met at Ingleside Birth and Community Centre on Wednesday 21 August to welcome Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, NHS England’s first Chief Midwifery Officer.
Professor Dunkley-Bent was invited to Salford to hear about the pioneering changes in maternity services in this part of Greater Manchester, and the continued drive for midwifery led births, personalisation of care, and choice for women and families in the region.
Representatives from Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, who run the midwifery led service at Ingleside, NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) who commission the service, and Salford City Council who own the building, welcomed Jacqueline and her team.
They were joined by colleagues from across Greater Manchester, local networks Dads Matter and FaceMums, and the families who have used Ingleside – including young visitor Carter, who was born at Ingleside just 10 weeks ago.
Professor Dunkley-Bent, who came into post on 1 April 2019, shared her vision for the role with the group. Alongside ensuring strong leadership at all levels, transforming the quality of care and addressing inequalities to see England become the safest place in the world to have a baby, she will also lead on a programme of work to address negative perceptions of midwifery, working with schools and the media to promote midwifery as a career of choice.
Jacqueline said; “It is phenomenal to hear the level of collaboration that is taking place here in Greater Manchester. You can feel the great care, inclusivity, authentic leadership and the valuing of each other that goes into this facility and the services you provide for families.”
Ingleside is the first and currently the only freestanding midwifery unit in Greater Manchester, and more trusts across the city are now coming on board to offer women in their area the option to birth here, including Saint Mary’s, Northern Care Alliance and Warrington & Halton Hospitals.
Jackie Bene, Chief Executive of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said: “It was a privilege to meet Professor Dunkley-Bent today and share the Ingleside story with her, we’re rightly proud of the work we do here and across all of our maternity services.
“To be able to offer women all four birthing environments is something we strived to achieve, and with Ingleside we have. To be able to share today with Jacqueline that we have over 275 women booked onto a continuity of carer pathway, many of whom will have their babies at Ingleside, was superb.
“We are a centre of excellence of women’s and children’s services and we’re proud to be working with our partners in Salford to provide this important facility.”
Anthony Hassall, Chief Accountable Officer of Salford CCG said: “We are really proud to welcome Professor Dunkley-Bent to Ingleside, for her to see the facility and meet the many dedicated people who do so much to provide the highest quality of services to women and their families.
“We have been working in partnership with Bolton and Wigan to improve midwifery services for a number of years, but it only really came to be catalysed with the development of this amazing unit. That’s really why we are keen and intent to continue to focus midwifery-led birth, personalisation and choice for Salford and Greater Manchester women.”
City Mayor Paul Dennett said: “Ingleside Birth and Community Centre is really the jewel in the crown in terms of collaboration and partnership. Working with Salford CCG and partners across the city, we managed to realise what is an absolutely a fantastic asset for our health and social care system. We are immensely proud of the staff who work there – they provide such an important public service for local people and we have had 147 births since the centre opened.”
Professor Dunkley-Bent was invited to hear presentations on birth personalisation and choice, early years’ service delivery and continuity of care on a tour of the facility, before meeting families and staff.