Trailblazing UCLH midwife receives New Year Honour 

31/12/2010 00:00 

A consultant midwife who has championed the cause of women from minority and underprivileged backgrounds has been recognised in the New Year Honours list for her services to nursing and midwifery.

Yana Richens, consultant midwife for public health at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH), was awarded an OBE.

Yana said: "This award is a celebration of midwives and midwifery and recognises that midwives who provide care to women everyday are the most valuable and cherished part of the NHS.

“I have been fortunate to spend my career doing a job that I love and to be recognised in this way is a real privilege.”

She added that her biggest achievement had been to highlight the issue of inequalities in maternity care - particularly for non-English speaking women and those from ethnic minorities – at highest level.

During her career Yana has brought about improvements in care for women with HIV and she was the lead midwife for recently published national guidelines on how to care for women with antenatal and postnatal mental health problems and complex social problems.

Along with consultant gynaecologist Sarah Creighton, Yana has also set up a charity to improve the lives of women who have suffered as a result of female genital mutilation (FGM), where the genitals of girls and women are intentionally altered or injured for non-medical reasons. FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985 but is still a problem with UK nationals or permanent residents sending their daughters back to their countries of origin -usually in Afirica - to have the procedure.

An honorary lecturer at City University, and student at WarwicK University, Yana was the first midwife to be awarded the Mary Seacole Award by the Department of Health to look into the experiences of non english speaking Pakistani women in the UK.

She started her career as a nurse in 1979 and recently advised the World Health Organization during a review of guidelines on the resuscitation of newborn babies.

Yana added: “I have always been passionate about improving services for all women. That is the whole premise of the NHS and what makes it so unique – everybody should have equal access to good treatment whatever their background.”

For more information contact Ian Lloyd, head of communications, on 020 7380 9506.

Yana Richens 

Yana Richens, consultant midwife for public health at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH)

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