Ali Cuthbertson, our departing head of midwifery, said goodbye to the Trust with a tea party as friends and colleagues gathered to mark the end of an era.
An emotional Ali paid tribute to the teams she’s worked with as she was presented with bouquets of flowers and a display made entirely from Double Decker chocolate bars.
Ali joined the neonatal unit at St John’s in Chelmsford in 1986 and became head of midwifery in 2007 before enjoying a four-year spell in Medicine and Emergency Care.
She is moving to Oxford University Hospitals where she will take over as director of midwifery.
Asked what the highlights had been of her time in mid Essex, Ali said: “My proudest moments have been the privilege of being involved in people’s lives when you’re looking after them; being with the families, being with the women, and having a voice to make changes.
“I have never worked with a team that hasn’t been amazing. Every team I’ve ever had has always been completely amazing.
“The strengths of Women and Children’s is the sense of fun, and a sense of commitment to always deliver the best and beyond.
“We got Good for every indicator in Women and Children’s from the CQC and they said that the leadership and culture had shifted to such a good place. That means your staff are being kind to one another and there’s lots of research that shows if staff are being kind to each other then they’re definitely being kind to the women.”
What will Ali miss about MEHT?
“It’s genuinely like working in a family. You have your moments, but professionally you never forget that we’re all here for the same thing, however difficult that might be. There have been difficult times but you have to accept that and not let it overwhelm you.
“We can make a difference and we do – the women tell us we do. Our friends and family tests are really positive, the number of complains is miniscule and the number of women wanting to use our services from outside the catchment area is really high, and the same is true for our gynaecology and children’s services.
“I wouldn’t be who I am – there are not many nurses in the country who have been divisional clinical directors – without the opportunities this organisation gave me.”