The Duchess of Cambridge’s former midwife has been appointed as the most senior in England.
Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent will take on the new role of chief midwifery officer, which has been created to improve care for new and expectant mothers and their children, NHS England said.
She will become the most senior midwife in the country and be responsible for overseeing the delivery of measures to enhance safety and support.
Professor Dunkley-Bent is understood to have helped deliver Prince George and Prince Charlotte. It is not known if she was also present at the birth of Prince Louis.
She is currently head of maternity, children and young people for NHS England.
“I’m thrilled to be given the huge responsibility and privilege of serving families and my colleagues as England’s first chief midwifery officer,” Professor Dunkley-Bent said.
“Throughout my time as a midwife and nurse in our NHS, I’ve seen first-hand the life-changing difference that the care of midwives can make to children and parents, and as the health service sets out to deliver an ambitious programme to improve care and safety for mums-to-be and their babies, I cannot think of a more vital, exciting and inspiring responsibility.”
Professor Dunkley-Bent will work on measures set out in the NHS long term plan, including improving digital access to children’s “red book” medical records, enhancing care for critically ill babies and widening access to physiotherapy for mothers recovering after labour.
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “Being there for families when a baby is born is amongst the most important roles the NHS plays.
“Giving children the best start in life puts them on course for a healthy future, which is why the NHS is investing in the best people, latest technology and world-class care to help mums-to-be and their families.
“The measures set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, from digital ‘red books’ to upgraded specialist perinatal mental health care, will mean new parents in England are among the most well-supported anywhere in the world.
“Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent has the skill, experience and determination to deliver for new and expectant mums and their families.”