Mitch and Maureen: Celebrating a combined 80 years of midwifery in the NHS

Two midwives from Haywards Heath are celebrating a combined 80 years of service in the NHS this year. 

After training and qualifying together in 1980 at Bart’s Health NHS Trust in London, Mitch Denny a Young Person’s Midwife and Maureen (Mo) Blatch, a Community midwife, now work together at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals.

Both have had long careers as midwives and estimate to have delivered thousands of babies between them in their lengthy service. The pair reflect on some memorable moments in their careers and explain why midwifery for them, has been such a rewarding career.

“We were due to attend a reunion at Bart’s when the pandemic hit and it was postponed. We really wanted to mark the occasion so decided to make a video to pull together some memories from over the years.” Said Mitch

“It was Florence Nightingale’s birthday the day we started our training on the 12th May 1980. A real highlight for me over the years was being invited to attend a royal engagement around highlighting support for mental health at the London eye. This was in recognition of supporting a young woman through emotional health difficulties.”

Mo, who has worked for BSUH since 1989 said:

“For me a highlight would be setting up an antenatal class in 2009 to provide opportunities for families to network and meet each other, I’m proud to say it’s still running over a decade later and has benefited over 700 hundred families.”

“Nursing has also provided travel opportunity when I was able to volunteer as a nurse/midwife in Ethiopia which was a challenge, as well as a real privilege.”

But the real highlight is in the job satisfaction, they both agreed.

Mitch: “We’re so proud to work for the NHS as midwives. There’s nothing quite like it, it’s such a personal profession where you have the unique chance to work closely with families. Having been in midwifery for so long, we’ve provided maternity care to multiple generations of families as well!”

Mo: “As a community midwife, you become known in your community. I’ve worked in Burgess Hill for so many years, I now often care for expectant mums who tell me I was their own mothers’ midwife, which is such a unique and special thing and great continuity of care.”

Mitch: “Things have changed a lot over the years but that’s the joy of it, you’re constantly learning new things and you have to be able to keep up with the developments in the profession and always be willing to embrace new things. One thing I did learn from nursing was how to make 28 perfect boiled eggs – that was the Sunday morning task for a student nurse on Abernethy ward!

Although celebrations for the Year of the Nurse and Midwife may not have been as big as we’d hoped this year as NHS responds to the pandemic, it’s so important to recognise long service to the profession of midwifery.  Thank you to Mitch and Mo for their outstanding contributions to midwifery!

Carolyn Morrice, Chief Nurse at Brighton and Sussex  University Hospitals said:

“I’m extremely proud of our midwives who are part of BSUH and we are so fortunate to have the experience and expertise that Mitch and Mo bring to the team every day.

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