Best of Health Awards 2020: The Sunderland and South Tyneside midwives honoured for 'fantastic' work

Outstanding – that’s the midwives of South Tyneside and Sunderland who can proudly claim to be award winners.

Head of Midwifery Sheila Ford, centre, with members of the maternity team at Sunderland Royal Hospital where maternity services have been rated as the best performing nationally.
Head of Midwifery Sheila Ford, centre, with members of the maternity team at Sunderland Royal Hospital where maternity services have been rated as the best performing nationally.

It has been an exciting year for maternity services across the area since the midwives won the special maternity award at the 2019 Best of Health Awards.

Just look at their successes in the months that followed.

The new midwifery-led birthing centre at South Tyneside District Hospital, which gives women more choice on where to give birth, has had more than 120 births since it opened last August.

Renesmae Jane Bain-Carr, the 100th baby born at South Tyneside District Hospital’s Midwifery-Led Birthing Centre with mum Shannon Bain and members of the maternity team.

And, only last month, Sunderland Royal Hospital was rated as the best in the NHS in a national survey which measures patient satisfaction in maternity care.

Sheila Ford, who is the Head of Midwifery for South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It is always good to receive feedback from families and to let staff know that they are appreciated.”

Sheila said it was ‘a real boost for our midwives, who do such a fantastic job, when they received a special maternity award in last year’s Best of Health Awards.’

But their success has not ended there.

The 2020 Best of Health Awards.

“The last few months have been extremely busy as we have worked to offer local women more choice over where to give birth,” Sheila added.

“The success of the midwifery-led birthing centre, coupled with the positive feedback that we have had from women having their babies at Sunderland and our outstanding results in the Care Quality Commission’s recent survey, show that our wonderful team are continuing to do all they can to give families who choose to deliver with us outstanding care through their skills, dedication and compassion.”

The opening of the birthing centre means local women now have the following options:

:: They can give birth at the midwifery-led birthing centre at South Tyneside District Hospital if their pregnancy is low-risk and problem-free.

:: They could give birth under midwifery-led care at Sunderland Royal Hospital, which is within the consultant-led maternity unit.

:: Another choice is to give birth at another maternity unit of their choice in the region.

:: Or they could give birth at home.

Women who have a high-risk pregnancy are advised to give birth in the consultant-led unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital. Most antenatal and postnatal care continues to be provided locally.

The recently published Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) 2019 national survey revealed maternity services at Sunderland Royal Hospital were the best performing nationally with the most positive responses to the survey at 88 per cent, when compared to all other Trusts and a national average of 78 per cent.

Sunderland Royal Hospital was also rated as the best performing across the whole of the North East and North Cumbria when it came to the care and attention women received in hospital after the birth of their babies.

The midwives were Best of Health Award winners last year but who will follow in their footsteps? It is time to come forward with your own health heroes and put them in contention for a 2020 South Tyneside and Sunderland Best of Health Award.

This year’s awards have the support of headline sponsors, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust as well as the category sponsors who are East Coast Fitness, Wonderful Wig Company and NHS Sunderland CCG.

We thank them all for their invaluable support.

The deadline for nominations for the Best of Health Awards is Monday, April 6.

Judges will meet to decide on the shortlist of contenders in each category on Wednesday, April 8.

Then, the awards’ glittering grand finale will be held at the Roker Hotel on Thursday, April 30, where all of this year’s winners will be announced – and we will be there to bring you full coverage of the occasion.

After the competition has ended, watch out for a supplement in the Sunderland Echo and the Shields Gazette, filled with more interviews and photographs from the night to remember.

But before we get to that stage, we need to find the heroes to help to make the health industry tick in South Tyneside and Sunderland.

The best way to do that is for you to send us lots of nominations to make the job as hard as possible for this year’s judging panel.

To nominate, send your name, address and telephone number, as well as your email address, if applicable.

Remember to include the category you are putting your nominated cause into.

Also send the name of the person you wish to nominate, as well as their address, telephone number and email (if known).

Send them by visiting, emailing [email protected], or posting to Lynn Wild, North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), Wearfield Enterprise Park East, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, SR5 2TA.


GP/ GP Practice of the Year.

Dentist/ Dental Practice of the Year.

Pharmacist/ Pharmacy of the Year.

Hospital Doctor of the Year.

Nurse of the Year.

Optometrist of the Year.

Therapist of the Year.

Midwife of the Year.

Care Worker of the Year.

Unsung Hero/ Customer Service of the year.

Healthier Lifestyle.