Royal College of Midwives appoint Burnley Hospital's Keelie as first ever maternity support worker to board

Keelie Barrett at Burnley's Women and Newborn Centre
Keelie Barrett at Burnley's Women and Newborn Centre

A maternity support worker from Burnley has become the first person ever in that role to be elected to the Board of the Royal College of Midwives.

Keelie Barrett, will carry out this role alongside her position at the Women and Newborn Centre at Burnley General Teaching Hospital.

Keelie joined East Lancashire Hospitals Trust 10 years ago after working in a private care home. She began as a health care assistant caring for older people before making the leap to maternity services five years ago.

It was then that Keelie joined the RCM and became a health and safety representative and a steward. Last year Keelie also won the Thompson Members Champion Award for her work to ensure staff stayed hydrated.

Keelie said: “It is a little bit surreal in a way but I am extremely excited. The support I have had from colleagues and senior management at ELHT has been overwhelming. I hope I can bring a different viewpoint to the board of the RCM, enhancing the great work that they do. I am incredibly proud to not only represent the RCM but ELHT too.

“I see, and experience, first hand both the great work carried out and the challenges that maternity support staff face. Being on the Board to represent the profession I love means I can highlight and debate the issues that matter and gives me the opportunity to make a difference. I would finally like to thank everyone who voted for me.”

When the RCM announced that they were opening up board places to maternity support workers, Keelie was encouraged by her RCM regional manager to put herself forward. Once Keelie submitted her application, she then underwent a series of competency assessments in London before she was selected as a candidate.

Director of Nursing for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, Chris Pearson said: “Keelie has worked hard for this board position, which she truly deserves. Being a great advocate for providing safe, personal and effective maternity care in Pennine Lancashire, Keelie is keen to ensure a positive experience for the women who use our services and our staff alike.

“In wishing Keelie good luck in her RCM Board position, I am confident that she will make a positive impact to maternity services across the country.”