A maternity support worker from East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has won one of the UK’s top midwifery prizes this week at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Awards.

Keelie Barrett is a joint winner of the RCM Members’ Champion Award sponsored by Thompsons Solicitors, for her work as a RCM Union health and safety representative (ULR) at the trust.

Keelie is particularly passionate about the promotion of health and wellbeing for staff at work, and the way in that this supports better care for women, babies and their families.  She worked in partnership with the trust and the head of midwifery around signing the RCM’s Caring for You Charter. This commits trust to looking after the health and wellbeing of staff.

The award was given for Keelie’s initiatives as a ULR in the trust. She regularly attends trust health and safety committee meetings on behalf of RCM members, and undertakes Work Inspections on a regular basis.

Among her many initiatives Keelie organised a walk-round with a health and safety "pop up shop". This advertised health and wellbeing initiatives already in place at the Trust, and contained RCM specific information booklets launched as part of its Caring for You campaign. The "shop" was also a "pit stop" of bottled water and fruit given out to staff, supporting them to deliver even better care.

Keelie also installed suggestion boxes in all maternity areas to get the views of members so that she knew what their concerns were and could work, in partnership with the trust, to solve them.

Keelie was presented with her award at the Royal College of Midwives Annual Midwifery Awards at a ceremony in London on the 6th March 2017. 

Delighted award winner Keelie, said: “I was absolutely amazed when my name was announced as the Members Champion – it was a wonderful surprise! It’s fantastic to be recognised by the Royal College in this way and a real honour to win the Thompsons Champion Award. 

“I have a great job which I really enjoy, is very rewarding and I love working with all my colleagues at the Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre and being able to support them as an accredited trade union representative.” 

Angela O’Toole, Head of Midwifery at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “I am delighted and extremely proud of our Keelie who, along with our dedicated team of highly-skilled professionals, provide such fantastic care to our mums and their families.

“Winning this award acknowledges Keelie’s excellent work and her commitment to providing safe, personal and effective care to mothers, babies and families. 

“The RCM Awards recognise the very best maternity services in the country, so we are delighted to win one award and be shortlisted for two more.”

Left to Right – Stephen Cavalier, Chief Executive of Thompsons Solicitors, Lisa Allan from NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and Keelie Barrett from East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, award joint winners, Gill Walton, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, Charlotte Hawkins, presenter of ITV’s Good Morning Britain and Event Host.

Stephen Cavalier, Chief Executive of Thompsons Solicitors said: “Thompsons is proud to sponsor the RCM Members’ Champion award which highlights the excellent work done by RCM reps throughout the UK. It is fantastic that this year’s award focuses on the link between improving health and wellbeing of midwifery staff and improving care for mothers and babies. 

“Congratulations to Keelie on her thoroughly deserved award. Her imaginative initiatives on health and safety have made a real difference to her colleagues and their working environment.” 

Gill Walton, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “This award celebrates the work of our workplace representatives and their value to the workplace and our members. In Keelie we have a wonderful example of someone who cares deeply about the welfare of the RCM members she represents. Equally she sees the direct connection between caring for staff leading to better care for women and babies. She is truly an asset to her trust, the profession and the RCM.”

For more information on the RCM Annual Awards visit http://www.rcmawards.com/