Lesley Page has been named the new president of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).
The academic, who has previously served in the role of professor of midwifery at Thames Valley University and Queen Charlotte’s Hospital, has focused on areas including clinical practice, management and leadership and policy work throughout a career spanning three decades.
Professor Page will take up her new position on April 2, replacing Liz Stephens, the college’s outgoing president.
Commenting on her appointment, she said: “I am a midwife’s midwife and know that in order to support women and their families midwives themselves need to be supported and nurtured.
“I have also been a supervisor of midwives and expert witness, so I can understand and empathise with the most difficult situations that midwives may face on the frontline when things go wrong.”
She added: “There could not be a better time to be RCM president.
“There are, of course, challenges, for example, in most places there are not enough midwives employed to run a good maternity service. Care is complicated, adding pressure to services that are already overstretched. The normal birth rate is too low and the (medical) intervention and caesarean section rates are too high.
“There is not always a genuine choice of place of birth for mothers wanting home birth; or for midwives a choice of where to practice, such as in MLUs or caseload practice. This is not good for midwives, and is certainly not good for women babies and their families. But, there are also tremendous opportunities for midwives to work to meet these challenges.”
As part of her academic commitments, Professor Page currently serves as a visiting professor at King’s College London, the University of Technology Sydney and the University of Sydney. She is also on clinical attachment at Cotswold Maternity Service, which is run by the Oxford University Hospitals Trust.