Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, OBE, who helped the Duchess of Cambridge deliver both Prince George and Princess Charlotte, has been named the chief midwifery officer of the United Kingdom. In her position as the most senior midwife in the country, she will be in charge of improving care for new mothers and their children. The nation’s National Health Service (NHS) made the announcement of Dunkley-Bent’s appointment to the newly created healthcare role. She currently serves as the head of maternity, children and young people for NHS England. Upon the announcement of her new role, Dunkley-Bent said she was thrilled to have the “huge responsibility and privilege” of working on behalf of families and her colleagues as the UK’s first chief midwifery officer. She went on to say that during her career as a midwife and nurse in the NHS, she has had first-hand experience of the “life-changing difference” that midwives can make in the lives of children and their parents. She also noted that as the NHS moves to provide an ambitious program designed to improve care and safety for mothers-to-be and their babies, she “cannot think of a more vital, exciting and inspiring responsibility.”
Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent has had a long career and considerable experience in the healthcare profession. She has held senior positions in clinical practice, education, leadership, and management, including as Director of Midwifery and Nursing positions for Women’s and Children’s services at Imperial College Healthcare Trust & Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. She has served as Senior Lecturer, Curriculum Leader, LME and Professor of Midwifery. In addition to her role as Head of Maternity, Children and Young People at NHS England and National Maternity Safety Champion for the Department of Health, she visiting Professor of Midwifery at Kings College London and London South Bank University. She is a member of the British Journal of Midwifery editorial board and has been an active member of the Maternity and Newborn Forum at the Royal Society of Medicine. Her volunteer work includes being the Midwifery Advisor for the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and has served as a trustee. She received the HSJ, BME Pioneers award in 2014, and in 2015 was chosen from over 100 nominations for inclusion on Nursing Times’ Leaders 2015 list, which honors nurses and midwives who are pioneers, entrepreneurs, and inspirational role models.
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