Academic awarded NIHR fellowship to encourage midwifery-led unit birth
Fellowship will support healthy women in their informed decisions about birthplace
Lucia Rocca-Ihenacho, a lecturer at City University London has been awarded a Knowledge Mobilisation Fellowship by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) with the aim of increasing the number of healthy women giving birth in midwifery-led settings.
Robust evidence indicates that midwifery-led birth settings, such as midwifery units in hospital or community-based settings can reduce intervention such as instrumental and caesarean births while offering safe care for the mother and her baby. Midwifery-led birth settings are also less expensive than obstetric units in hospitals.
Despite this many NHS services still offer obstetric units as the mainstream option and midwifery-led birth settings as an alternative.
A senior clinician and an academic with broad experience of leadership and management of staff and resources, as part of the project Lucia will be working in collaboration with Barts Health NHS Trust to achieve the aims of the fellowship by engaging both service users and staff in several initiatives, including the improvement of the information women receive and more training and support for staff. Lucia is also one of the co-founders of Midwifery Unit Network and played a key role in the creation of MUNet Europe.
Lucia also has experience of mentoring midwives in clinical practice in a wide range of settings from home births in London to the mountains of rural Afghanistan. Having worked until October 2015 as a Consultant Midwife in Public Health at St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust Lucia is now based at City University London where she works as a Lecturer and researcher.
She is supported by a first class group of supervisors and advisors including Professor McCourt, from City University London, Professor Sandall from King’s College London and Professor Peebles from UCL.
Speaking about the NIHR fellowship and the project, Lucia said:
“This fellowship award is a real honour and I am excited to work collaboratively in partnership with amazing service users, midwives, doctors, inspirational leaders and researchers, who have good care and women’s choices at heart. I am incredibly passionate about supporting the development of positive team culture and organisational change facilitation and I hope this fellowship will enable us to support healthy women in their informed decisions about birthplace and support staff working positively in a way that offers them joy, pride and ownership.”