Midwife receives national award for improving care for pregnant people with learning disabilities

Date: 25 May 2023

Sarah-Jayne Ambler

A midwife employed by Medway NHS Foundation Trust has scooped a national award for improving maternity care for people with learning disabilities.  

Sarah-Jayne Ambler, Clinical Research Manager in Midwifery, won the Excellence in Midwifery for Research category in the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) annual awards which were held in London on Friday 19 May.  

Sarah-Jayne and her colleagues undertook a trial project to improve the experiences and outcomes for people with learning disabilities using the Trust’s maternity services. The trial showed that not only was more research needed to further improve care, but also brought about immediate and positive changes in care for pregnant people. These included better identification of those with learning disabilities early in their pregnancy and improved staff training. 

The team, led by Sarah-Jayne, is now setting out on a bigger research project to find out about the maternity experiences of people with learning disabilities. Right from the off the project involved those with learning disabilities and experience of maternity care, ensuring their voices were heard so that services could be designed to support them better. Once the research project is complete, Sarah-Jayne and the team will use the findings to refine and continue improving the Trust’s maternity services for people with learning disabilities. 

Sarah-Jayne said: “I am so proud of the work that has led to this award and all of the efforts the Trust’s Research Team is putting in to ultimately improving experiences and outcomes for pregnant people with learning disabilities. This has been a fantastic opportunity to share the small changes that we are making which could make a real difference to pregnant people and can ultimately be applied anywhere. More broadly, this is a prime example of the more subtle positive impacts of being a research active maternity unit and how it improves outcomes for everyone, not just those who take part in research.” 

Jayne Black, Chief Executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Congratulations to Sarah-Jayne and the team with this very important research trial.

“It is vital that our services are accessible to all. In order to do this it’s important that we work with and listen to our service users as this allows us to then tailor them to ensure we meet the needs of everyone. This really is a great example of how good research can translate directly into better frontline of care and more knowledgeable and skilled staff.”


  • Summary:

    Sarah-Jayne Ambler, Clinical Research Manager in Midwifery, has scooped a national award for improving maternity care for people with learning disabilities.