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One Show shines spotlight on student midwives

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Published on 11 April 2023

University of Sunderland midwifery student chatting to the BBC One Show
University of Sunderland midwifery student chatting to the BBC One Show

Broadcast on 6 April 2023 on the BBC's One Show, the short film - highlighting a shortage of midwives in the UK - focused on four students in their first year of training at the University of Sunderland.

The crew filmed Beth Stott, Claire Harrison, Lucy Hannat and Kate Hillerby as they spent time on placement at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust midwifery unit, supporting new mums, and women in labour, as well as those who had given birth. 

Presenter Chris Jackson and his team then spent the afternoon interviewing the students, and filmed their training at the University’s new Midwifery Suite, based in Helen McCardle House on City campus. The students talked about their own reasons for choosing to study midwifery, their previous professions, as well as their own experiences of motherhood which had influenced their decisions to change careers. 

Also interviewed for the programme were members of staff including Linda McNamee, Lead Midwife for Education, and Simone Bedford, Associate Head of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, responsible for Blended Learning (Nursing), MNurse and Midwifery, who has been instrumental in bringing midwifery to the University. 

Head of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, Sue Brent, said: “We were delighted to have the opportunity to showcase our Midwifery course and our high-fidelity Midwifery simulation facilities here at the University. We have an amazing team of academic staff, and a wonderful partnership with our partner Trusts. Between us we are educating future midwives who will have the right knowledge and skills to support women during their pregnancy journey, with specialist knowledge in pre-natal care, during pregnancy and post-partum care.” 

The University welcomed its first students to the new Midwifery Suite last September, to further enhance Sunderland’s range of healthcare courses now provided on campus, from medicine, healthcare sciences, paramedic practice and nursing to physiotherapy and occupational therapy. 

Responding to a national shortage of full-time midwives in the NHS, the BSc (Hons) Midwifery Practice three-year undergraduate degree has been designed to address challenges specifically around perinatal mental health. 

The Midwifery Suite was also created as part of a wide-ranging external consultation with regional NHS Trusts, maternity services and the Patient, Carer and Public Involvement (PCPI) programme (a group of services users and carers). It was established with the help of £1.8m in funding from Health Education England, the Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust and NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group.