A former estate agent from Ealing who began the process to retrain as a midwife at the age of 33 has been recognised for her work by winning the prestigious Gwen Richardson Award which is given annually to an outstanding midwife.
Jacqui Martin specialises in substance abuse and regularly liaises with social services and other organisations ensuring mother and child get the appropriate support. She joined Northwick Park Hospital 18 years ago and is currently one of five safeguarding nurses who look after the welfare and health and wellbeing of mothers and their babies.
For the last 18 years, Ms Martin has played a pivotal role in supporting and helping women in a maternity unit at Northwick Park Hospital that assists thousands of births a year.
She said that when pregnant with her third child she was touched by the care shown to her by a young midwife. “I just thought what an amazing vocation and began an access to nursing course a year after the birth of my daughter.”
Ms Martin ended up doing her midwifery training in the same hospital she had given birth in. Her mentor turned out to be the midwife who had helped deliver her child.
She added: “I’m glad I had my children before I become a midwife.”
Ms Martin further explained her work. “We serve a large diverse community made up of many different cultures and languages including asylum seekers and migrants. It brings its own challenges and we have seen a big upturn in people needing help during the cost-of-living crisis struggling to get essentials, such as cots and clothes.
“It’s not an easy job but it is rewarding. I remember a nurse giving a presentation on safeguarding at my induction. I knew from that day that was an area I wanted to work in and here I am.”
Pippa Nightingale, chief executive of LNWH and a midwife herself said: “Babies keep arriving regardless of midwife shortages, strikes and sickness so we have a pretty hardy bunch here who regularly go above and beyond the call of duty. The unit has been through a lot of change in recent years and I am proud of the way the team has handled that and kept moving forward.”