Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent has been appointed as England's first Chief Midwifery Officer.
The new role has responsibility for leading the development of measures aimed at increasing the quality and safety of maternity care.
Professor Dunkley-Bent has a long career in a range of roles across the NHS including having worked as a midwife, nurse and currently serves as head of maternity, children and young people for NHS England.
As well as being the national maternity safety champion, she also advises on standards and practice in healthcare, alongside academic roles with two London universities.
Professor Dunkley-Bent said: ‘Im thrilled to be given the huge responsibility and privilege of serving families and my colleagues as England’s first Chief Midwifery Officer.
‘Throughout my time as a midwife and nurse in our NHS, I’ve seen first-hand the life-changing difference that the care of midwives can make to children and parents, and as the health service sets out to deliver an ambitious programme to improve care and safety for mums-to-be and their babies, I cannot think of a more vital, exciting and inspiring responsibility.’
‘The RCM really welcomes the appointment of Professor Jacque Dunkley-Bent as England’s first ever Chief Midwife. This is a significant and vital step towards recognising and strengthening midwifery leadership at all levels in the NHS,’ said Gill Walton Chief Executive and General Secretary at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).
‘I cannot think of a better midwife than Jacque to take on this role and her varied career as not only a midwife, but also national leader and maternity safety champion at NHS England means that she will bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the role.’