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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > New associate director of midwifery for North Cumbria

New associate director of midwifery for North Cumbria

Posted on Wednesday 20th January 2016
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NCUH NHS Trust has welcomed a new associate director of midwifery, Christina Cuncarr

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has welcomed a new associate director of midwifery to strengthen the senior team at a crucial time for the maternity service.

Christina Cuncarr has travelled halfway around the world to take up the post, having been based in New Zealand for the past 19 years. She has 35 years’ experience in the health service, and is qualified both as a midwife and a nurse. In 2009, Christina completed a MA (Applied) in Midwifery at Victoria University of Wellington, NZ.

Originally from Lancashire, Christina worked in the NHS for 16 years before moving to New Zealand 19 years ago. Since then she has worked in a wide range of roles including hospital midwife, midwife educator, lead midwife delivery suite, and for the past 10 years was clinical midwifery manager for the maternity wards in Wellington, New Zealand.

Christina said: “This is a new role which has been created to give more strategic leadership to the maternity teams, so I’m really excited to be taking on this challenge. I am here for the staff and women in the community and want them to be confident that someone is representing their interests at the highest level.

“Sometimes maternity can be seen as an ‘add on’, rather than an integral part of the hospital, so one of my biggest priorities is to foster a more collaborative culture across the business units. I see myself as a link between the hospitals and the community and hope staff and service users alike will feel able to share their ideas with me.”

Another key priority for Christina is the development of midwifery led units (MLUs) at both the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven. The new units, due to open this spring, will sit alongside the obstetric units with the aim of giving pregnant women in North Cumbria more choice and to meet their individual needs.

“Excellent progress has been made on the new units and they are both on track to open in the next few months,” said Christina. “There is a huge amount of international evidence that giving birth in a midwifery led unit is the best option for low risk women. It is about promoting ‘normal’ birth and reducing medical intervention, in a less clinical environment.”

The plans for the MLUs are being progressed as part of the Trust’s response to the recommendations within the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists-led Review of Maternity provision in Cumbria, which was published in March 2015. Whilst the review only recommended the development of a midwife-led unit at the Cumberland Infirmary, it was agreed to develop the same services at West Cumberland Hospital to ensure equity of access for women across North Cumbria. Both will sit alongside the existing consultant-led units. The Trust already runs one standalone midwifery led unit, at Penrith Hospital.