The first maternity care assistants in Salisbury District Hospital’s maternity unit have started their midwifery course.

The Level 6 apprenticeship programme for the midwifery degree, a collaboration with the University of Winchester, offers maternity support workers a new route into the profession and supports the Trust's strategy by offering development opportunities.. 

The course was introduced as part of a broader series of improvements put in place by the Maternity Unit following a Care Quality Commission (CQC) review in 2021.

The review found that improvements needed to be made to maternity services in Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust and was rated “requires improvement.”

Salisbury Journal: (left to right) Melanie Whitfield, Nicole Brodie, Scarlett Leahy, Laura Ellson

Scarlett Leahy, practice education midwife, who initiated the partnership, said: “It is such a great programme in collaboration with Winchester University. It includes students being able to follow a patient journey from the very beginning of the course, which is a huge benefit to learning.

“This isn’t normally available until the third year of study, and we believe the programme is unique in that respect.”

Launched in January, the course includes three years of clinical placements at the hospital for two students, the first being Nicole Brodie and Laura Ellson, who have learned and participated in a range of Midwifery skills.

READ MORE: Salisbury; Castle Street closed due to incident involving truck

Laura is part of a midwifery team working closely with the local military community to help some families from Afghanistan receive the support they need, including translators and coordinating antenatal appointments.

She said: “I am passionate about midwifery and I would not have been able to achieve everything that I have so far without the support of the apprenticeship and Salisbury District Hospital.”

Salisbury Journal: Salisbury District Hospital

Nicole’s first placement involved an antenatal examination of a baby in the breech position, which she correctly identified, giving her what she called, “a big confidence boost.”

Melanie Whitfield, chief people officer at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It’s really important that people are provided with the best possible range of development opportunities.

“I am delighted and proud of the team for their initiative in the partnership with Winchester University to offer such a great start to anyone considering a career in Midwifery.”

In addition to the apprenticeship, the unit’s team has taken on seven internationally recruited midwives; a master’s degree conversion is also available for nurses to become midwives.

Those interested in finding out more about the programme can visit Winchester University’s website.