Midwife and former Chief Nurse recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours list

8th Jun 2019

The former director of midwifery and chief nurse of Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust Elaine Newell has been named in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

Elaine receives the OBE for services to midwifery. She said: ““It is an unbelievable honour to have been recognised in this way for services to midwifery. It has been both a passion and a privilege to serve women and families in communities local to my own home. I have been fortunate to have been supported in my various midwifery roles by some wonderful teams and by a Trust which afforded opportunity and encouraged the work that I have tried to do. It is hard to put into words what this means to myself and my family who have always been so supportive, but I am incredibly proud.”

Joining the Trust as head of midwifery in 2009, Elaine faced a multitude of challenges including poor patient experience, concerns over care quality, and issues with recruitment and retention which she faced with equanimity, as she led maternity services into an award winning service.

Against a background of social deprivation Elaine sought to provide women the absolute belief that they deserve the very best care at what is both an anxious and exciting time as they approach motherhood. She created specialised midwifery roles in bereavement, screening, diabetes and infant feeding, and made patient safety the number one priority for all her staff.

The CQC gave maternity services a good rating in all categories under her leadership, and her service was awarded the Midwifery Award for Promoting Natural Birth by the Royal college of Midwives in 2013, and achieved the Baby Friendly initiative from UNICEF in 2014.

In 2017 she was appointed chief nurse of the Trust, a role she held until her retirement in May 2018.

On hearing the news about her OBE Toby Lewis, Chief Executive of the Trust, said: “I am absolutely delighted to see Elaine’s immense contribution to midwifery, and to professional leadership at the Trust, recognised nationally.  The huge improvement in maternity care under Elaine’s leadership is an important legacy, and the work in recent years to halve stillbirths in our Trust owes much to her determination as part of a multi-professional team.  Elaine’s personal example has inspired many staff who still work with us, and I know that this honour will excite those colleagues and show what can be achieved in Sandwell and West Birmingham.”


Back to News Stories