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OUH midwives shortlisted among best in country


Two midwives based at the Women's Centre at the John Radcliffe Hospital are up for a national award from the British Journal of Midwifery (BJM) as Midwife of the Year and for their Contribution to Midwifery Education.

The BJM Practice Awards are a prestigious and important part of the midwifery calendar and celebrate outstanding achievements in midwifery practice. Every year, the awards recognise hard-working individuals and teams in the midwifery profession.

Finalist as Midwife of the Year, Anita Hedditch is a senior midwife and lead of the Breech Team at the John Radcliffe hospital. Anita has been recognised for her dedication to women whose baby presents in the breech position, with feet or bottom in the pelvis instead of the head after 36 weeks. She has been a midwife on the delivery suite for 26 years, 24 of which she has spent at Oxford University Hospitals.

Her pioneering works in the External Cephalic Version (which consists of turning baby's head towards the pelvis) and in Vaginal Breech birth (where the baby is delivered in the breech position) has helped significantly reduce the rate of caesarean section for breech births.

She has been described as striving for excellence in supporting women, junior midwives and doctors. A member of staff who nominated her for the award said: "Not only does she support women in their decisions but she trains and supports staff to regain skills lost over the last two decades when breech birth was not considered a recommended option."

Speaking about her nomination Ms Hedditch said: "I feel honoured to have been shortlisted for this award. This nomination publicises on a national level safe and realistic mode of birth choices for women with a term breech presentation.

"This is a chance to highlight that selective vaginal breech birth is a safe option alongside external cephalic version and Caesarean section for breech babies.

"I want to thank the other midwives in the team I work with. This nomination would not have been possible without their hard work and commitment."

It is anticipated that midwives will be enabled to detect changes in the womb more accurately after an interactive Intermittent Auscultation (IA) tool (a method of monitoring the baby's heart rate) has been developed by Oxford University Hospitals Consultant Midwife Wendy Randall together with Royal Berkshire’s Consultant Midwife Christine Harding.

The duo have been shortlisted for the BJM Award for the best contribution to midwifery education. The tool alongside a training package is intended to make IA safer and enable midwives to better assess how babies cope with the labour.

Ms Randall, who worked for the Trust for five years, and Ms Harding said: "Christine and I entered for this award because we are very proud of our training package and want to reach out to as many people as possible to share our resources with.

"We feel that there has never been such a robust training package for IA or an assessment and this is vital for ensuring safe maternity care.

"We would like to thank Alan Inglis, Senior Simulation Technician at OXSTAR (Oxford Simulation, Teaching and Research), for helping us prepare the sound for the assessment as without his skills and patience this would not have been possible to create.

"We also are grateful to Oxford Academic Health Sciences Network who have supported our training programme.

"We hope that the BJM awards will raise the profile of our training and hope that many organisations (NHS and Universities) will see the value of our package."

The award winners, chosen by a prominent panel of expert judges, will be revealed in an evening ceremony taking place on 13 February 2019 at The Queens Hotel, Leeds.