The Maternity & Midwifery Festivals are curated by some of the UK’s most renowned maternity and midwifery leaders of their generation through our advisory panel. Led by Sue Macdonald, Joint Editor of Mayes Midwifery Textbook and former head of education at the RCM, they bring experience from all aspects of maternity care relating to revalidation, management and maternity leadership.
Dr Cathy Ashwin
Head of MIDIRS and Principal Editor of MIDIRS Midwifery Digest
Honorary Professor of Nottingham University
Cathy has been a midwife for many years and during that time she has worked in different areas all with the same goal to give the greatest care and improve the experiences of women and their families through pregnancy, birth and early parenthood.
Having worked in all areas of maternity care within a hospital setting she then enjoyed several years working in the community, supporting women to birth at home or in a midwifery led unit. Still being grounded in the community she worked as a specialist midwife for smoking cessation and also set up midwifery services within a Sure Start centre, with a particular focus on perinatal mental health and young people.
Cathy’s interest in smoking cessation led to undertaking and successfully achieving a MSc and PhD exploring women’s experiences of smoking, stopping and relapsing. The PhD was studied at the University of Nottingham where she became a lecturer and still retains an Honorary position.
MIDIRS became her next project, putting it back on the radar as a contemporary midwifery journal, reference database and source of social media information. Cathy has recently left this position to explore other avenues, including providing training to support midwives in providing continuity of care. Throughout her career, continuity of care and carer has been her passion as she truly believes this gives women, partners and midwives the best experience of maternity care and supports positive mental health.
Professor Amy Brown
Department of Public Health, Policy and Social Sciences
Professor Amy Brown is based in the Department of Public Health, Policy and Social Sciences at Swansea University in the UK where she leads the MSc in Child Public Health.
With a background in psychology, she has published over 60 papers exploring psychological, cultural and societal influences upon breastfeeding and introducing solids.
Her research seeks to understand how we can shift our perception of how babies are fed away from an individual mothering issue to a wider public health problem – with societal level solutions. Amy has published three books: Breastfeeding Uncovered: Who really decides how we feed our babies, Why starting solids matters, and The Positive Breastfeeding Book: Everything you need to feed your baby with confidence.
Senior Midwifery Lecturer, UCLAN
In 2017 Anna became the proud new owner of The Practising Midwife alongside her mother, Sheena Byrom and their partners, Creativeworld.
Beyond The Practising Midwife and All4Maternity Anna works as a Senior Midwifery Lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
She is also currently completing her doctorate exploring the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative with Professor Fiona Dykes at the Maternal & Infant Nutrition and Nurture research unit at UCLan.
She has three children: Seamus, Betsy and William.
Dr Sheena Byrom RM OBE
Sheena Byrom is a practising midwife of 40 years, having worked in the NHS for most of that time. Sheena was one of the UK’s first consultant midwives, and as head of midwifery successfully helped to lead the development of three birth centres in East Lancashire. As well as being an international speaker, Sheena provides consultancy services to both NHS Trusts and to organisations globally; helping them to support normal, physiological childbirth. Sheena is involved in several midwifery related charities, and is one of the project leads of the Midwifery Unit Network, which assists and promotes midwifery led units (birth centres) both online, and face-to-face. Sheena and her midwife daughter Anna Byrom are the proud new owners of The Practising Midwife, and an exciting online platform All4Materity.com – the go to place for maternity workers to learn, share and care.
Sheena’s midwifery memoirs, Catching Babies, is a Sunday Times bestseller, and her seminal book, The Roar Behind the Silence: why kindness, compassion and respect matter in maternity care, jointly edited with Soo Downe, is being used as a resource to improve maternity care throughout the world. Sheena and Soo are currently editing a second book, ‘Squaring the Circle: researching normal childbirth in a technological world’, which will be published in 2019.
Sheena was awarded an OBE in 2011 for services to midwifery, and was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Midwives in 2015. In 2016 and 2018, Sheena received Honorary Doctorates from Bournemouth University and the University of Central Lancashire, and in 2017 she was made a Visiting Fellow at Bournemouth University. Her personal and midwifery related website is sheenabyrom.com.
Sheena is committed to the humanisation of childbirth, to maximising normal physiological birth processes, and for all women to experience a positive birth. The global onslaught of medical technology as a means to improve safety continues to influence childbearing women’s physiology and autonomy, and her work to reverse the trend is ongoing.
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board
Judith is the strategic and clinical lead for Public health including Obesity in Pregnancy, Perinatal mental health, Female Genital Mutilation, Elan team, asylum seekers, Human trafficking, teenage pregnancy, breastfeeding, Stillbirth, Safer pregnancy, Sexual Health and the implementation of Long Acting Removable Contraception (LARC), smoking and substance misuse.
Her career started as a rotational midwife where she developed an interest in vulnerable women in pregnancy. Following her rotation to all areas of Maternity she worked as a community midwife in ELAN team, which was developed to provide specialist maternity care and support within specific areas of social deprivation, including substance misuse, asylum seekers, perinatal mental health and safeguarding.
From there Judith undertook a Lecturing secondment with Cardiff University School of Healthcare Sciences which supported her undertaking a PGCE and MSc in Research methods. On completion of this secondment she continued to work as a Midwife in Cardiff and Vale, then progressed onto a specialist midwife in teenage pregnancy role that was being piloted in the Vale of Glamorgan.
It was from this post that Judith moved into the Consultant Midwife role that she is currently in. As a senior clinician she offers support to midwives in all areas of public health, she conducts monthly 1:1 with each specialist midwife within these areas to provide clinical advice and offer support in the development of these services. Recent projects that she is involved with include the development of the healthy pregnancy clinic which aims to review women with a BMI over 35 delivering outside of an obstetric unit and the commencement of a research scholarship in September 2018 which will evaluate the postpartum family planning service that was initially developed in 2016.
Alison Edwards is a Doula UK Doula and is passionate about all things birth, Doulas and empowering women – whatever their circumstance.
She moved from Guernsey to the UK in 1998 and has worked in this field both in the Channel Islands as well as here in the UK.
She is currently a Director of Doula UK as well as Head of Mentoring and Secretariat.
Member, RCN Midwifery Forum Steering Group Committee
Judy Evans has worked in the NHS for over 40 years and is both a practising midwife and nurse. Her career began in Yorkshire, initially as a nurse then moving to Essex in the 1980s.
She has a wide range of midwifery experience both in the UK & overseas. Fortunate to have been able to work in all settings – hospital, community, midwifery-led birthing units, practice development, as a supervisor and latterly in education, lecturing on numerous associated subjects. Midwifery remains a passion with a particular interest in the Newborn Infant Physical Examination (NIPE) and pain management. She currently practices clinically at Basildon Maternity Hospital and as a registered nurse for the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability.
Judy currently sits on the RCN Midwifery Forum Steering Group Committee.
Midwifery Consultant and Author
Dianne’s passion for midwifery began in 1983 when she qualified at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital, London. Her subsequent energy and enthusiasm for developing and expanding a new practice led her towards teaching about waterbirth in 1989; a subject which has remained extremely close to her heart ever since. Having spent over 40 years in the NHS she decided to start her own company in 2005, MidwifeExpert, which allowed her the freedom to explore midwifery with a global perspective whilst focussing upon areas of practice innovation, development and education. Dianne works clinically in a local hospital supporting low and high complex mothers and babies through childbirth.
Through MidwifeExpert, Dianne continues to expand her horizons; lecturing and consulting internationally as well as offering other specialist services such as Expert Legal Witness and Care Quality Commission Inspections. She currently holds professional roles within respected public and private bodies including APEC (Action on PreEclampsia), NICE UK, Gentle Birth Guardian Education, Waterbirth International (USA), Wenzhou Oriental Maternity Unit (China), Wellness Mother and Baby Hyderabad (India) and advisory panel for MMB.
Over the years Dianne has had 4 books published,( Waterbirth – an attitude to care edition 1 and 2 , Revisiting waterbirth – and attitude to care) and a new version of ‘Revisiting waterbirth – an attitude to care,’ Palgrave.2017. Dianne continues to write numerous articles, drawing equally on her vast experience and vital up-to-date clinical knowledge brought about by maintaining her revalidation to this day.
Midwifery Consultant and Educationalist
Maternity and Midwifery Festivals Programme Curator
Sue is a midwife and educationalist by background. After qualifying as a nurse at Guys hospital, she trained as a midwife. She worked as a midwife in London and in Dorset, working in all areas of maternity services. She then moved into midwifery education after completing the Advanced Diploma in Midwifery. Whilst working in education she designed the first ‘direct entry’ midwifery programme in London,and developed a range of innovative continuing education courses for midwives from initial degree to Masters level. Sue worked at the Royal College of Midwives for 10 years, managing the research and education agendas.
More recently Sue has been involved in a UNICEF programme overseas, and in developing electronic learning materials. She is passionate about developing midwifery practice, research and education, and is currently undertaking an MPhil/PhD at Middlesex University. Sue has recently edited the 15th Edition of Mayes Midwifery Textbook.
She received an Honorary Fellowship from the RCM in June 2014.
Director of Midwifery
Croydon Health Services NHS Trust
Qualifications: Dip RN, Degree RM, MSc, PGEd
Manjit Roseghini has been a midwife for over 24 years, her first Head of Midwifery role was at Whittington Health from 2015-2018.
She describes herself as ambitious, committed, passionate, Director of Midwifery, with a strong track record in midwifery and nursing leadership and operational management across acute and community settings. Proven skills in quality improvement, change management and the ability to inspire individuals and teams; always aspiring to improve patient safety, care and experience.
She has been a supervisor of midwives for over 10 years and is delighted that her unit was choose as one of the 7 pilot sites for New Model of Midwifery Supervision, A Equip Model and the role of Professional Midwifery Advocate.
She has maintained continuous professional development throughout her nursing and midwifery career. She has successfully completed MSc in Professional Leadership, and practice teaching. She is an ALSO instructor in the UK and provided training abroad by completing Trainer the Trainer programme for VTT in India.
Her passion is travelling and visiting healthcare setting for maternity care globally. She has worked with the RCM on twinning project in Nepal and in India (3-year project) with a Vocational Training Team delivering training to master trainers with the aim of reducing maternal mortality sponsored by Rotary international.
Key Skills and Attributes
- Leading, motivating and developing teams and individuals
- Quality improvement and change management skills
- Creating and developing effective partnerships across organisational boundaries
- Managing change and complexity in line with a strategic vision
- Flexibility and drive in addition to high energy levels.
Maternity and Midwifery Forum
Neil is a former Director of Communications for the Royal College of Nursing, a post he held between 1984 and 1989. From 1989-1992 he was Political Secretary to the then Labour leader, The Rt Hon Neil Kinnock MP.
He established the publishing company, Neil Stewart Associates, in 1992, working with professional bodies such as the Royal College of Nursing, The Queen’s Nursing Institute, The Council of Deans of Health and The Royal College of Midwives, to develop highly regarded professional conferences.
He went on to establish Policy Review TV, and, more recently Narrowcast Media Group, which have revolutionised the way in which healthcare professionals receive professional content.
Neil Stewart is a former President of the National Union of Students. He has a postgraduate qualification in Communications, Advertising and Marketing and is a member of the Institute of Public Relations and was awarded the IPR prize for non commercial organisations in 1981 while still a student.
Dr Jenny Hall
Editor, Box Set Editor
Maternity and Midwifery Forum
Dr Jenny Hall has been creatively educating for nursing and midwifery all her career, in practice, publication or in higher education.
Recently this has been through developing reflective practice in other educators on the Postgraduate certificate for education.
Her passion is to view women’s needs holistically, including recognising spirituality. Previously editor for The Practising Midwife, she has published widely.
Recent research topics include spirituality, promoting dignity and respect in education and the human rights experiences of disabled women.
Further interest lies in educating for Sustainable Development. She is Fellow of the Royal College of Midwives and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Dr Jenny McNeill
Lead Midwife for Education/Senior Lecturer
School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen’s University Belfast
Dr Jenny McNeill is Lead Midwife for Education/Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, QUB.
Jenny is committed to maximising the contribution of midwifery to enhancing outcomes for women and their families in the perinatal period through education and research. Providing high quality midwifery education and teaching excellence will contribute to positive outcomes for women and infants.
Jenny’s research focuses on exploring and evaluating the links between what happens during pregnancy, birth or the postnatal period and the resultant clinical or social outcomes with a particular emphasis on public health.
Jenny’s research interests also include models of antenatal care including group based care and education and midwifery education.
She also has experience in conducting systematic reviews, systematic reviews of review and meta-analyses across several subject areas including the public health role of the midwife, music interventions to reduce prenatal maternal stress and psychosocial interventions for parents with an infant admitted into neonatal intensive care.
The Student Midwife Journal
Alicia Burnett is a final year student midwife in London.
She is also Editor-in-Chief of The Student Midwife Journal and the founder and curator of The Covid-19 Cohorts blog hosted on the All4Materity website.
Senior Midwifery Lecturer
London South Bank University
Sarah has been a registered nurse and midwife for over 25 years. She has worked in the UK and the USA and volunteered in Africa supporting the fistula campaign and teaching midwifery skills and drills. Sarah was seconded to work as a honorary midwifery lecturer at Kingston and St. George’s University whilst working as a fetal medicine specialist midwife at St Georges NHS Trust.
Sarah is passionate about improving the pregnancy outcomes for high risk women during pregnancy and exploring the cultural needs of women. In her FMU role, she was the caseload midwife for pregnant women with sickle cell anaemia and thalassaemia and counselled couples on haemoglobinopathies screening and diagnostic testing.
Sarah sat for eight years as a NMC fitness to practice panellist and has in-depth knowledge of professional regulation and fitness to practice and is currently involved in working with organisations that focus on supporting the professional practice of midwives. Sarah has also published papers on culture, black African women and pregnancy, sickle cell anaemia and FGM.
Her MSc thesis was an innovation project resulting in the creation of a toolkit on the culture of black African women during pregnancy. In her former role as a RCN midwifery forum committee member Sarah has also contributed to RCN guidance on FGM.
Sarah received an RCN innovation award for setting up one of the first labour triage units in London. She also received the first Dora Opoku BAME award to fund her PhD studies and the Ann Steward award for commitment to midwifery practice from The Iolanthe Midwifery Trust. Sarah is currently a senior midwifery lecturer at London South Bank University and leads modules on complexities in childbirth and the compromised neonate.
She is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Hertfordshire exploring the perceptions of Nigerian women and midwives of cultural competency in antenatal care.