Department commissions new report into Midwifery Services in Northern Ireland

Date published: 23 May 2023

The Department of Health has appointed Professor Mary Renfrew to take forward a new report looking at Midwifery Services in Northern Ireland.

Professor Mary Renfrew
Professor Mary Renfrew

Professor Renfrew will undertake work that will help inform a consistent approach to the provision of midwifery services throughout Northern Ireland, including a comprehensive and independent review of freestanding midwifery led units.

Users and advocates of maternity services and professionals will be engaged throughout the process.

As part of the ‘Enabling Safe, Quality Midwifery Services and Care in Northern Ireland’ report, Professor Renfrew will develop recommendations for policy, practice, education and research in Northern Ireland.

The recommendations will also form part of a programme of work currently being undertaken by the Department’s Maternity and Neonatal Safety Oversight Group, which was established to receive assurance on the safety of maternity and neonatal services for the population in Northern Ireland.

Chief Nursing Officer, Maria McIlgorm, said: “Our maternity teams are a critical part of our health and social care system, caring for over 20,000 women and babies each year in Northern Ireland. This independent report is fundamental to ensuring that we continue to improve services for expectant mothers, their babies and families, as well as our midwives and maternity teams.”

The Chief Nurse continued: “The report will take a comprehensive look at services and critically, maternity service users and staff will be central to the process. 

“I welcome the appointment of Professor Renfrew, her significant expertise and in depth knowledge of midwifery are  highly respected throughout the UK and globally, and we are very fortunate that she is leading this report for us in Northern Ireland.”

Professor Mary Renfrew said: “I am honoured to be leading this important work for Northern Ireland. It is timely to be examining the quality and safety of services and care for all women, babies and families.  We will be learning lessons from successful service provision internationally, key research evidence, the expertise of researchers, educators, multidisciplinary staff, and the experiences of women and families.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. Professor Mary Renfrew commenced her work on 1 May 2023 and it is anticipated that the review will complete in Autumn 2023
  2. Professor Emerita Mary Renfrew OBE RGN RM PhD FMedSci FRSE has had a distinguished career as a researcher and educator in midwifery and maternal and newborn health in the UK and internationally. She has advised evidence-based policy for governments and global organisations; she led the work for the regulator, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, to develop the new midwifery standards for midwives in the UK; she was principal investigator for the ground-breaking Lancet Series on Midwifery; and she has worked as consultant and adviser to the World Health Organisation for many years. She is the first midwife or nurse to be elected as Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the first midwife to be elected as Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.
  3. For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office by email
  4. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt.
  5. The Executive Information Service operates an out-of-hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The Duty Press Officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

Share this page

Back to top