A Birmingham Women’s Hospital Midwife has been awarded an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen thanks to her dedicated work helping families and babies born with fetal abnormalities.
Veronica Donovan, Consultant Midwife for Fetal Medicine, has helped pioneer a number of developments in her field that have helped save and change the lives of countless children since she joined the specialist hospital in 1999.
Veronica, who has more than 30 years of service within the NHS, has contributed to various areas during her career helping with improvements in clinical care, the experience of patients, education and research.
She played a significant role in the development of the Fetal Medicine Centre at the Women’s Hospital, the only specialist centre of its kind in the region, which helps families who have complexities with the health of their unborn babies during pregnancy, before becoming the centre’s Matron in 2003 and then a Consultant Midwife in 2014. Now recognised as an exemplar in its field, the centre enjoys a national and global reputation for excellence caring for more than 2,200 patients each year.
After training in Coventry in the late 1970s, Veronica worked in an Antenatal Unit, which sparked her interest in scanning. She later went on to become only the second midwife in the country to independently undertake the procedure of amniocentesis - the screening for fetal abnormality - and is now a practitioner and trainer for this procedure.
She was also part of the pioneering team that established the fetoscopic laser ablation service for pregnancies complicated by twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome for the north and midlands regions.
Veronica, a respected voice nationally, has played a major role in education, lecturing across the UK and internationally on the subject of fetal medicine, while also being heavily involved in research to help understand and improve outcomes for women and babies. This has included helping to establish a ‘pre-term’ birth clinic for women with a previous history or risk of premature birth.
Veronica is now working to increase the availability of antenatal scanning in the community, this forms part of the work we are doing with our colleagues across the Birmingham and Solihull United Maternity and Newborn Partnership (Bump), to give women greater choice and consistent access to maternity care across both Birmingham and Solihull.
Mum of-three, Veronica Donovan OBE, said:
“I am both thrilled and amazed to have received this honour. I couldn’t quite believe it when I read the letter informing me. I kept asking the question, why me?
“I have been privileged to have worked with such incredible people, who are so motivated and the couples we meet in the centre show such stoicism. It’s very humbling to be part of that.
“The team I work with is so important to me and without them, we wouldn’t have such a great service, everyone has an equally important role to play to provide services to our women. Each day is different and the work is always interesting - we never stop learning.
“We see couples and families going through some very difficult and challenging times. it’s about supporting them every step of the way.”
Sarah-Jane Marsh, Chief Executive of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“I am delighted that the wonderful Veronica has been recognised with this prestigious honour. She is a real trailblazer for what midwives can achieve and her pioneering work has had a positive impact on the lives of thousands of babies, women and families.
“Without her commitment and dedication, fetal care not just in our hospital, but across the UK, would not have developed in quite the same way – and we are all so very proud of her.”