Cushendall midwife wins national midwifery award

8 April 2019

A midwife from Cushendall in Northern Ireland has won one of the UK’s top midwifery awards for her leadership project.

Brigid McKeown – a Lead Midwife at Northern Health and Social Care Trust – scooped the RCM Leadership Award at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Awards.

Brigid, known locally as Bid was recognised for designing and implementing an innovative Succession Planning Programme, which helps midwives to develop their ability to be future leaders by ensuring the knowledge of soon to retire experienced midwives is passed on to their less experienced colleagues.

Bid noted that many older and very experienced midwives are approaching retirement and that their knowledge would be lost to the service. Around 40% of midwives are over 50 in her region with many eligible to retire at 55.

Noting this gap Bid, working in collaboration with senior midwives, planned, designed and implemented the Succession Planning Programme to harness this knowledge and pass it on to the midwives who enrolled in the course.

The programme Bid developed includes masterclasses, networking events and junior midwives shadowing senior colleagues. In total 24 midwives within the Northern Trust signed up for this programme, exceeding all expectations. The feedback from staff has been very positive with midwives saying they have a greater sense of a collective identity, have been able to further develop their own leadership skills, as well as initiate their own quality improvement projects that will make a difference for the women, children and families that use our maternity services.

Other professions have also expressed interest in the scheme and Bid has shared her project with RCM colleagues, senior nurses, social workers and midwives in Northern Ireland, Glasgow and Cornwall.

Bid received her award at the Royal College of Midwives Awards Ceremony in London on 5th March 2019.

Bid said, “I am really truly honoured to have been awarded this prestigious national award and would like to pay tribute to the midwives who participated in the programme. They are a fantastic group of dedicated and enthusiastic midwives and I am confident that the future will be safe in their hands. I would like to thank my midwifery colleagues and local experts who contributed to the masterclasses and by facilitating the midwives to shadow them in their already busy roles.”

Caroline Diamond, Head of Midwifery said,


“The Maternity Service is tremendously proud of Bid’s achievement and delighted her efforts have been recognised nationally.  Bid has worked extremely hard to inspire and encourage midwives to strive and flourish as future leaders. Through the Succession Planning programme, she has equipped the midwives with the confidence to consider senior roles in Midwifery and the skills to innovate and drive improvement in Maternity services for women and babies”.

Eileen McEneaney, Executive Director of Nursing said;

“I am delighted that Bid’s Professional Leadership in Midwifery has been recognised nationally. The Trust is reaping the benefits of this succession programme in Midwifery, and we have seen great evidence of this recently. I am incredibly proud of the Midwives in the Northern Trust and Bid has represented the team well on a National level.”

Gill Walton, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “This year is the RCM’s Year of Leadership and this is a wonderful project that shows leadership in action. Bid’s project is a worthy winner of this award and I congratulate her and her colleagues for this well-deserved accolade.”

For more information about the Succession Planning Programme contact Brigid at

For more information on the RCM Annual Awards visit


8th April 2019

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