International Day Of The Midwife 2022: Annette’s story

Please tell us about yourself

Hello, my name is Annette Anderson and I am a midwife.

October this year will mark my 20th year in the profession. I am proud of the profession I have chosen, especially as I wanted to be a midwife from the age of five.

Please tell us about your role at NHS Resolution

I am the Head of Early Notification Clinical Team. As a senior midwife, I provide leadership and strategic direction to the clinical team who work within the Early Notification team as well providing clinical leadership to the Maternity Incentive Scheme.

From a clinical perspective, my role spans the organisation and I work very closely with the Early Notification legal team as well as with other teams such as Policy and Strategy, Safety and Learning and our Communications team.

Nationally, the spotlight continues to be on maternity, which has an impact across NHS Resolution as a whole. This means my role is extremely varied, and can include providing advice and guidance on cases reported into the Early Notification Scheme, report writing, working closely with senior stakeholders such as the Chief Midwifery Officer’s team, National Maternity Safety Champions, Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) and Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Other areas of my work include communicating to clinical leads at trust level regarding Early Notification or the Maternity Incentive Scheme, as well as leading the team in sharing learning from cases to support meaningful changes in clinical practice locally, regionally or nationally.

Please describe your midwifery background

I am a direct entry midwife which means that I am not a nurse; I trained at the North Middlesex hospital in North London, and lived in the student accommodation across the road. My training was for three years. When I qualified as a midwife, I applied to work at Homerton University Hospital in Hackney, as I grew up in Hackney and I always wanted to give something back to the community.

My roles at Homerton were varied and included time as a team clinical midwife providing antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care, other senior midwifery leadership roles included Supervisor of Midwives, Trust Risk Manager and my last role at the trust was as a Maternity Clinical Risk Manager participating in the senior midwifery team on call rota. While working at the trust, I had also contributed to national projects and initiatives being rolled out in maternity.

As a midwife you can specialise in so many different areas, I always imagined being a coordinator on delivery suite, however I found a speciality which really interested me and that was within patient safety/risk management. I chose this path as I wanted to make a difference to improve outcomes for mothers and babies.

What inspired you to become a midwife?

I had two fantastic role models in my family, as both my Nan and my Aunty were midwives. They were amazing women, who absolutely loved the profession, and were very passionate about providing the best possible care for mothers and babies.

I always looked up to them, and we were very close within the family, so it made sense for me to follow their example, and I am pleased I did. They were a great support to me during my midwifery training, and it was nice to be able to discuss my progress, get some tips, as well as being given some of my Aunt’s older midwifery books (Anatomy and Physiology by Sylvia Verralls was my favourite!).

When I looked into midwifery further before applying, I really liked the autonomous role of the midwife, while working in a multidisciplinary team environment. I also wanted to work in an environment where no two days were the same; the world of maternity definitely fulfils that.

Why is it so important to have colleagues working with a clinical background at NHS Resolution?

Obstetrics (maternity) cases still form a significant proportion of the cost of maternity claims, and looking at ways to reduce the likelihood of harm, and associated costs is a key focus of our strategy within NHS Resolution. With the inception of the Early Notification Scheme and Maternity Incentive Scheme, and the focus within our business plan, it was the right time to have additional clinical expertise in maternity within our organisation.

We already have highly skilled individuals/teams working within NHS Resolution, and having colleagues with a clinical background complements the existing skillset, we can add a different dimension to conversations, learn something new from teams as well as sharing our knowledge. It remains a multidisciplinary team, but in a different environment to that of working within a trust. The difference is that we have a national focus, and that means we have the ability to impact on the work of all the trusts we work with as well as having an impact on mothers, babies’ and families across England.

Why do you think your midwifery experience brings value to your role at NHS Resolution?

I bring to the organisation lived experience of being a midwife, knowing what it is like to work in an immensely rewarding and challenging environment. My experience has given me an understanding of the challenges faced by midwives. It has also given me an understanding of the perspectives of staff and families, and this informs my work as Head of the Early Notification Clinical Team.

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