Maternity & Midwifery Forum

London Maternity and Midwifery Festival Trailblazer Awards 2024

Last week the Maternity and Midwifery Forum’s London Festival took place at the Royal National Hotel, London. Take a look at the winners from the London Maternity and Midwifery Trailblazer Awards Ceremony. The Awards recognised outstanding achievement and commitment to maternity and midwifery services over the past year across London and South England.


Narrowcast Media Group produced, filmed and live streamed the Awards Ceremony on the day. You can watch back the ceremony on-demand today and catch up on all of the action from the day that you may have missed.

Watch the ceremony (below) and take a look back at some of the best photos from the day in this article.


Student Midwife Trailblazer

Lisa Jayne Joyce, Student, James Paget Hospital studying at the University of Suffolk

Lisa is a role model for all students and midwives, she strives to support physiological birth, and through her time as a student has put together a bag of props to help facilitate physiological birth with the birthing women and people she cares for. She sets each birth room up to enable relaxation and promotion of oxytocin. The bag of props has taken the attention of midwives on the unit and is promoting healthy discussion to encourage more midwives to set up the room similarly.

As a busy mum Lisa has taken all opportunities available to increase her midwifery skills and often puts herself forward for extra training opportunities. Already Lisa is planning projects for when she qualifies to increase well-being and patient safety. Lisa is a joy to work with and deserves recognition.



Midwifery Practice Leadership Trailblazer

Sian Ridden, International Midwife Recruitment Co-ordinator / Professional Midwifery Advocate, University Hospital Dorset

Impressive nomination illustrating a warm and dedicated midwife supporting International midwives.

Sian has been in the role 6 months to establish midwifery international recruitment workforce to reduce a high vacancy rate and improve safety at the unit. As the sole professional responsible for 13 internationally educated midwives (IEMs), she has recruited, set up induction, including establishing them in the local area and English culture, provide a 12 week OSCE training programme, facilitated MDT training, pastorally supported, hosted learning and social/team building events to boost morale and provided practice development support.

Sian is celebrated for her leadership, driving positive employee experience, and going out of her way to ensure the International midwives are happy and settled in.

Colleagues said:

“the best thing that has happened to us, she ensures wellbeing is taken care of, always helpful and patient”.

“You are a wonderful person and a great exemplar. You always go beyond the content of your teachings to incorporate the values of the profession we love most”.

“You keep supporting your students, encouraging them to strive for excellence in their chosen profession”.

“Your dedication, patience and love during your teaching and non- teaching sessions has been amazing”.

“Thank you for the life changing experience within this short period of our meeting together”.

“This is a testimony not only I attest to, but the entire IEM team. We appreciate you.”



Midwifery Practice Leadership Trailblazer

Sarah Ballard, Midwifery Practice Leader, Midwifery Led Unit, St Thomas’ Hospital, London

Sarah is a notable, yet unassuming leader. She displays the positive qualities of leadership without ever having to metaphorically shout about it. Against sometimes challenging times during COVID and suboptimal staffing Sarah has continued to be the bedrock of home from home. She is committed to enhancing and maintaining a positive safe environment for us to be able to deliver the best care we can for the mothers and their families that pass through our midwifery led unit. She is inspiring helping with birth plans, interjecting if individualised specialist plans are needed and thereby engaging with the multidisciplinary team whilst keeping the mother and her wishes core.

Sarah has the capacity to juggle the individual circumstances of the midwives and support workers in our lovely team, she is kind and flexible. She is approachable and fully trustworthy if one encounters a personal or professional issue. She role models integrity and capacity to deliver duty of candor. She is able to clarify and engage in conversations and direction when care or documentation was suboptimal so that learning and improvement follow.



Midwifery Practice Education Trailblazer

Rachel Miles, Preceptorship Clinical Support Midwife and Paramdeep Nandhra Preceptorship Clinical Support Midwife & Practice Educator for MA’s, Croydon Health Services NHS Trust

Rachel and Paramdeep have been nominated for the work they have done over the past 18months for transforming the preceptorship programme for NQM. Before this role was introduced, our unit experienced poor retention of newly qualified staff with midwives leaving soon after joining. Rachel’s and Paramdeep’s oversight and enthusiasm has ensured that our team of preceptees feel truly supported and valued when they start in their roles. They have established regular study groups which enable the preceptees to learn together within a protected time period; these groups cover theory and practical skills relating to all of the required clinical competencies as well as provide input from our team of specialist midwives. In addition, they also oversee the International Educated Midwives, modifying the preceptorship pathway to accommodate their specific learning needs whilst supporting them to train for and eventually pass their NMC OCSE. Reviewing and expanding the training and developmental opportunities for Maternity Assistant’s has been another key focus ensuring their mandatory training programme is relevant to them and has worked to achieve bespoke study sessions. They are commended as visible and approachable senior midwives who have made an unbelievable difference to the wellbeing and retention of our newly qualified staff; their commitment and hard work does not go unnoticed.


Consumer Group Trailblazer Award

Elizabeth Duff, Senior Policy Advisor, NCT Charity

Elizabeth has been in her role at NCT for 15 years. She has been active as an advocate and supporter for service users and maternity services for over 30 years with a strong, personal interest in the importance of postnatal care, perinatal mental health and early parenting. She formerly was editor of the Royal College of Midwives journal, Communications Manager for the International Confederation of Midwives and Executive Director of the Iolanthe Midwifery Trust.

Elizabeth was involved in the National Maternity review in England and was chair of the Review’s work stream on personalisation and choice. She represents the NCT for Maternity Transformation in England and Scotland and is on the clinical reference group of the National Maternity & Perinatal Audit.

Elizabeth is a wise, caring and kind person who has demonstrated through her initial volunteer roles and subsequent employment her passion for improving the experience of women and their families. She has global insight, as well as local, of the importance of the role of midwives in giving holistic, personalised care and continuity. Elizabeth has been, and continues to be, a voice for the best postnatal care for families to be listened to and acted upon.

Thank you Elizabeth, for all you do – the best is yet to come!


Maternity and Midwifery Forum Editorial Team

February 24

If you would like to make an award nomination for your colleague or yourself, please use our online form here, and we will see you at the next festival event of the series – FREE All-Ireland Maternity and Midwifery Festival – 9th April.