4 June 2013

Francesca Entwistle and Denise Campbell, the leaders of the innovative new midwifery programme at the University of Hertfordshire, have been shortlisted for an RCM Award in the Johnson’s Baby Award for Excellence in Midwifery Education.

The nomination comes three years after the first set of students enrolled on the first work based course in the UK that incorporates distance learning for midwives. The first group of students became qualified midwives in 2010, and they are now working as part of local NHS teams.

Francesca Entwistle says: “We are really pleased to be considered for this prestigious award, the whole midwifery teaching team are proud to be able to work with their colleagues in practice, local women and students to ensure that midwifery training at the University of Hertfordshire responds to local women's needs and remains not only up to date, but at the forefront of its profession. Without this collaborative approach this innovation would have not have been possible, and we would like to thank them all.”

Whilst pre-dominantly based on an e-learning approach, sixty per cent of their time is spent in practice and the remaining forty per cent is spent on e-learning. Students are employed within two local NHS Trusts across three maternity units - East and North Herts, West Herts and Barnet and Chase Farm.

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, says: “This demonstrates that there is wonderful and ground-breaking work being done by midwives and I congratulate Francesca and Denise on being shortlisted for this award.”

Following its successful inception, the spearheading programme is now in the process of being refined and further developed, through focus groups with clinicians and current students. The awards will be held on 25 January at the Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden and will be presented by broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky.