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Gemma Puckett and Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent

Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent OBE, the first Chief Midwifery Officer for England, has visited St Peter’s Hospital, in Chertsey, which is part of Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The country’s most senior midwife was able to see first-hand how the Trust is working to provide better care for mothers and babies and celebrate the outstanding contribution of staff.

Professor Dunkley-Bent is responsible for driving improvements in care for new and expectant mothers, building increased safety and support in maternity care and promoting safer births as part of Better Births, the report of the National Maternity Review, and the NHS Long Term Plan. She is also responsible for providing professional, strategic and clinical leadership to colleagues across the country.

Professor Dunkley-Bent learnt more about some of the Trust’s recent work to drive improvements in maternity care, and how they are working towards their vision of ‘one team, working together, delivering safe and outstanding care for every woman and her family’.

Each year at ASPH, there are around 3500 babies delivered at the Abbey Wing, Abbey Birth Centre and at home. St Peter’s Hospital also has the regional Level 3 NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) which is able to care for extremely premature babies.

Professor Dunkley-Bent also presented a prestigious Chief Midwifery Officer Award to Gemma Puckett, Acting Head of Midwifery at Ashford and St Peter’s. These awards are designed to recognise and reward the significant and outstanding contribution made by midwives in England.

Gemma received this award as a result of her commitment to excellence, and her exceptional leadership skills, particularly over the past year during Covid-19. She has worked at the Trust for over two years, and prior to her current role as Acting Head, Gemma was the Deputy Head of Midwifery at the Trust.


Professor Dunkley-Bent said:

“The Chief Midwifery Officer Awards celebrate the ways that staff have gone above and beyond to improve care for women and their babies, as well as their contribution to the profession of midwifery as a whole. I was extremely proud to hear about the amazing work that has taken place and honoured to have the opportunity to present this award. ”


Gemma said:

“I was absolutely overwhelmed and completely humbled to have been nominated for the award, it was a complete surprise and I haven’t stopped smiling since. I cannot thank the incredible team I work with who make being a leader an absolute joy and privilege, even through these difficult times.”


Andrea Lewis, Chief Nurse at Ashford and St Peter’s, said:

“I’d like to congratulate Gemma for being the recipient of a Chief Midwifery Officer Award. I am so proud of Gemma for all of the work she has done for our maternity services. The past few months have been incredibly challenging during Covid-19, but Gemma has shown fantastic leadership and provided such great support for the team, we’re really lucky to have her and this award is very much deserved.”


Pictured above: Gemma Puckett and Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent


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