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Thursday 11 March 2021

Influential new role for University midwifery professor

Professor Soo Downe joins Health and Social Care Committee’s Expert Panel

Soo Downe, Professor of Midwifery Studies at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), has been appointed to the Expert Panel of The Health and Social Care Committee.

The UCLan academic is one of four new panel appointees, chaired by Professor Dame Jane Dacre, to evaluate the progress the Government has made against its own commitments in the area of maternity services.

Professor Downe has been a midwife since 1985 with extensive experience of maternity service improvement in the UK and internationally.

Commenting on the prestigious new appointment Soo said: "I am delighted to take up this new role. My goal now is to accelerate the implementation of sustainable, evidence-informed, compassionate, safe and personalised care. Together with my panel colleagues, our aim is to influence Government policy, making sure women and their babies from all backgrounds have the best possible experiences and outcomes. At the same time, we want to ensure the staff who provide maternity care are fully supported to do the best job they can.”

"Together with my panel colleagues, our aim is to influence Government policy, making sure women and their babies from all backgrounds have the best possible experiences and outcomes."

UCLan's Soo Downe, Professor of Midwifery Studies.

The Health and Social Care Committee's Special Report: Process for independent evaluation of progress on Government commitments (August 2020) set out how it planned to establish and commission an Expert Panel to support its scrutiny of the Government. The panel will help the Committee evaluate the progress the Government has made against its own policy commitments and provide a score for each commitment using a CQC-style rating system.

Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP added: “The expertise of individual panel members in terms of patient experience and health policy will be invaluable in assessing the pace of progress.

“The work of the panel means the Government will be held to account by an evaluation process similar to that used across the NHS and social care system, focusing attention on areas where a number of vital commitments have been made, starting with maternity services.”

In addition to Professor Downe the other new panel members are:

  • Professor Alexander Heazell, Director of Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre, University of Manchester;
  • Sarah Noble, Associate Director of Midwifery at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust;
  • Professor Dame Lesley Regan, Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at St Mary’s Hospital, London.

11 March 2021