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Health and Social Care Committee appoints maternity services experts

11 March 2021

The Health and Social Care Committee has appointed four Maternity Advisers to its Expert Panel. The Advisers join the Expert Panel, chaired by Professor Dame Jane Dacre, to evaluate the progress the Government has made against its own commitments in the area of maternity services.

The Expert Panel 

The Committee's Special Report, "Process for independent evaluation of progress on Government commitments" (August 2020) set out how it planned to establish and commission an Expert Panel to support its scrutiny of the Government. The Panel will help the Committee evaluate the progress the Government has made against its own policy commitments and provide a score for each commitment using a CQC-style rating system.

The four new members are:  

  • Professor Soo Downe, Professor of Midwifery Studies at University of Central Lancashire;
  • Professor Alexander Heazell, Director of Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre, University of Manchester;
  • Sarah Noble, Associate Director of Midwifery at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust; and
  • Professor Dame Lesley Regan, Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at St Mary’s Hospital, London.

Meet the new panellists  

Professor Soo Downe

Professor Soo Downe is Professor of Midwifery Studies at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and has been a midwife since 1985 with extensive experience of maternity service improvement in the UK and internationally.

Soo has said:

"My goal is to catalyse the implementation of sustainable, evidence-informed, compassionate, safe and personalised care, and to influence policy to make sure women and their babies from all backgrounds have the best possible experiences and outcomes, by ensuring that the staff who provide maternity care are fully supported to do the best job they can.”

Professor Alex Heazell

Professor Alex Heazell is Director of Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre, University of Manchester and a consultant obstetrician. He also runs the Rainbow Clinic for parents who have experienced a stillbirth in a previous pregnancy.

Alex has said:

"I am passionate about providing high-quality maternity care to women, their babies and their families and I am excited to be able to join up policy through healthcare to women’s experience of care."

Sarah Noble

Sarah Noble is Associate director of Midwifery at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, where she has worked to reduce the extended perinatal mortality rate and introduced a new model of care where women know their care givers throughout their maternity journey.

Sarah has said: 

"I am passionate about making maternity services safer and more personalised for women and babies. I am excited to bring my real-world understanding of the challenges faced by women and staff to the Expert Panel and ensure the Panel’s work delivers concrete benefits."

Professor Lesley Regan

Dame Lesley Regan is Professor and Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at St Mary’s Hospital, London, and was President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists from 2016 to 2019.

Lesley has said: 

"This is a unique opportunity to focus government policies on achieving safer, more personalised maternity care and removing barriers between maternity professionals to ensure the best possible outcomes for women and babies."

 

Image: Parliamentary copyright