Legacy of wartime midwife lives on in Northwick Park Hospital
PUBLISHED: 11:47 17 November 2016 | UPDATED: 14:47 17 November 2016
A wartime midwife at Central Middlesex Hospital has left a compassionate legacy which lives on with the creation of a special award.
Gwen Richardson, who died at Northwick Park Hospital in July 2014 aged 90, has been remembered with introduction of ‘The Sister Gwen Richardson Midwifery Award’.
Midwives at London North West Healthcare NHS Trust (LNWH) are to benefit from award named in honour of the wartime midwife who found solace in her former career when faced with dementia.
The inaugural awards ceremony will be held on November 23, where the winner’s name will be added to a special plaque which will be displayed in the midwifery-led unit at Northwick Park Hospital.
The maternity unit at Central Middlesex Hospital in Acton Lane, Park Royal, closed in 2008.
Mrs Richardson started her nurse training in 1942, spending nearly 15 years as a midwife at Central Middlesex Hospital leaving the profession in 1956 when her first child was born.
At the age of 85 she was diagnosed with dementia. Shortly after her diagnosis she suffered a stroke and heart attack. Despite leaving her with limited short-term memory, Gwen was able to remember vividly her nursing and midwifery career.
Liz Hopkins, her daughter, said: “If you had tried to talk to my mum about anything happening in the present day, it would be very tough, very limited and repetitive. It was a very different matter on the topic of nursing and midwifery however.
“When my mum was admitted to Northwick Park Hospital she soon became a favourite with the nurses. She would consider it her appropriate place to sit at the nurse’s station, rather than her own bed or the day room.
“She was always offering to help out on the ward, often saying ‘I can see you are rushed off your feet, pass me a spare uniform and I will help you out.’ The nurses on the ward treated my mum with the up-most respect. They would call her ‘Sister’ and tell her that she was one of them.”
The midwife from LNWH who is judged to have shown dedication, commitment, and compassionate care in their role will receive a cheque for £100 presented by Mrs Richardson’s family.
Danny O’Leary, divisional lead for women’s services at LNWH, said: “The Sister Gwen Richardson Midwifery Award is recognition of the tremendous work experienced midwives not only have on a woman’s journey throughout pregnancy, but the impact they have on students and other people they work with. It is a fantastic award and a fitting legacy to the memory of Sister Gwen Richardson.”