The award recognises midwives in England for their “exceptional contribution to midwifery practice”.
Dotty Watkins head of quality and governance – maternity at Rotherham Hospital was surprised with the news on a Zoom call with Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, chief midwifery officer, and was presented the award by Claire Keegan, deputy regional maternity lead.
Professor Dunkley-Bent said Dotty was awarded the Chief Midwifery Officer Award for her “unwavering, innovative, steadfast, expert contribution to midwifery, maternity, and most importantly mums, babies and their families”, in a career spanning 40 years.
Claire Keegan said: “The Gold Award is awarded for outstanding achievements and performance demonstrated by a midwife in their sphere of practice. The award recognises the exceptional contribution by an individual with a distinguished career in midwifery.
“Dotty Watkins was nominated for this award because she is a role model for others, achieving the highest standard in her area of clinical practice and as a midwifery leader has made a significant contribution to the quality of care received by women and their families, organisations and all the colleagues and teams she has worked with.”
Dotty said receiving the award was “surreal”.
“I was invited to a special heads of midwifery meeting at lunchtime and I was happy to sit in,” she added.
“In a Zoom call, Professor Dunkley-Bent encouraged us all to celebrate the day and the difference that as midwives we make to the lives of women and families. She proceeded to state that she was going honour a very special midwife.
“She started to talk about the midwife’s achievements and I wondered who it could be. I realised that I had done some of the things that she was referring to and then it dawned on me that she was talking about my achievements and was going to honour me.
“She recalled things that I had forgotten I had achieved. My colleagues at the meeting had very kind words to say about me. Then the deputy chief regional midwife came off the screen and into the room to present the gold award, ensuring it was COVID secure.
“It was rather surreal. I was proud, disbelieving and humbled all at the same time. It was a real honour. I have been privileged to do a job that I have loved and been able to make a difference to the care of mothers and babies. It has certainly been great to work at Rotherham with a superb team. My thanks to all who feel that I have excelled at a job that I love.”
The trust’s chief nurse, Angela Wood, said Dotty is an inspiration to her colleagues.
“We are lucky to have such an excellent and experienced professional working at our Trust. She is a fantastic role model to our colleagues and this award is very well-deserved.
“Congratulations to Dotty and thank you for bringing your expertise to Rotherham and helping us provide excellent midwifery services to our women.”