Midwife returns to help oversee South Shields hospital unit where her career was born

A midwife who started her career in South Tyneside has returned to help oversee the unit where she first began helping babies into the world.

Michelle Watson, centre, with, left, senior midwife Jacqui Ramshaw, and team member Melanie Booth.
Michelle Watson, centre, with, left, senior midwife Jacqui Ramshaw, and team member Melanie Booth.

Michelle Watson has taken over as head of midwifery at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, with responsiblity for care at the midwifery-led birthing centre at South Tyneside District Hospital.

She will also be responsible for teams at the consultant-led maternity unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital, and the trust’s community midwife teams.

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Michelle started her career as a student midwife at South Tyneside District Hospital in 1999, setting out on an 18-month postgraduate midwifery programme, having already qualified as a general nurse.

Michelle gave birth to both of her children at the hospital and was supported through her first delivery by Melanie Booth and given post-natal care by Jacqui Ramshaw – who now heads up the midwifery-led birthing centre in South Tyneside.

She said both acted as her mentors during different stages of her training.

Michelle said: “I’m extremely proud to be joining such an excellent maternity service, which is so often rated highly by local mams and their families. I have a fond affiliation with the Trust. This is where my passion for midwifery started and I am so excited to work with the fantastic team.

“For me this is about giving families the best experience, choice about where and how they have their baby and a seamless service and I am genuinely thrilled to have this opportunity.”

She added: “It feels a bit surreal to come back to South Tyneside knowing I’ve both trained and given birth here, but I am genuinely excited to get stuck in.”

Michelle’s appointment has been welcomed by colleagues Melanie and Jacqui.

Melanie, who is part of the midwifery-led birthing centre team, said: “It’s great to have Michelle back. She has lots of valuable experience and that’s what we want from a Head of Midwifery.

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Senior Midwife Jacqui, who manages the midwifery-led birthing centre, added: “We are delighted to have Michelle back here, on both a personal level and professional level.”

Melanie Johnson, director of nursing, midwifery and allied Health professionals at the Trust, said: “Michelle is a fantastic addition to our team and I have no

doubt that she will play an important role in work that we are doing to further develop maternity services.”