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Event uncovers what midwife of the future will look like

Tuesday 29 August 2017

What will the midwife of the future look like? That’s the question being discussed by experts at a University of Salford event.

The debate,held at the University on Thursday August 31, aims to unpick how rapid social,economic and technological changes will affect how midwives undertake their jobs – and the knowledge and skills they will need to undertake their roles effectively – up to the year 2030.

BBC 5 Live Breakfast presenter Rachel Burden will contribute to the event by speaking about her recent experiences as a new mother.

Speakers such as Neil Tomlin, Regional Maternity Lead at NHS England, Professor Ged Byrne,Director of Education and Quality at Health Education England, and Kathryn Gutteridge, President of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), will discuss how midwifery will change to keep pace with UK society and how training for students should make them adaptable and reflective.

The experts will debate issues such as how midwifery services will evolve as it becomes more common for women to give birth later in life, sometimes with long term conditions which may have prevented earlier generations from having children,as well as how digital technology will be used to help women prepare for their births.

They will speak before an invited audience including midwifery students and new parents,including those who had good and bad outcomes of their pregnancies. The audience will then be able to put questions to a panel of regional heads of maternity units, in a session chaired by University of Salford midwifery director Lisa Bacon.

The University of Salford is one of the largest educators of midwives in the north of England,and is home to a hi-tech simulation suite designed to look exactly like a hospital maternity ward, containing realistic electronic manikins which play the role of birthing mothers and new-born babies, operated by specialist technicians from an adjoining control room.

These simulators can move, speak or cry via a microphone controller, and have pulses and moveable chest plates to simulate breathing, enabling students to respond to a wide range of medical scenarios in a realistic setting before they go on hospital placements.

The University’s three year midwifery degree programme received 100 per cent satisfaction in the recent National Student Survey, with 100 per cent of students completing the survey.

The event is taking place ahead of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) – which sets professional standards for midwifery services across the UK – consulting members, hospitals and universities about future changes to those standards. It will also be attended by the NMC and views made at the event will help inform the way midwives across the country are taught in the future.

It has been organised using the the ideas of Karen Barker, Senior Lecturer in Midwifery, and Rosemary McCarthy, Lecturer and assistant Director.

Lisa Bacon from the University of Salford said: “The birth of a child is a highly significant and crucially important point in anyone’s life,and can sometimes be challenging too, and it’s absolutely essential that midwives are not only as professional and highly trained as possible, but that the profession reflects changes to our society.

“This is an opportunity for clinical and academic experts to come together and discuss how the role of the midwife will change over the next 13 years, but also to listen to the highly important views of people who have had recently used maternity services.”