Posts By / Vanora Hundley

Hear about NIHR Wessex Applied Research Collaboration – 13th January 09:30 to 12:00

Applied Health and Care research is essential in our region if we are to improve the care and operation of our health and care systems.

Professor Alison Richardson, Director of the NIHR Wessex Applied Research Collaboration (ARC), will be talking about the newly formed ARC Wessex, which is working across the region with its partner organisations to bring the best research into practice.

ARC Wessex aims to address the immediate issues facing the health and social care system. The research programme focuses on four areas:

  • Ageing & Dementia.
  • Healthy Communities.
  • Long Term Conditions
  • Workforce and Health Systems.

There are a number of initial projects underway – for further information see our website.

This event is open to everyone across Dorset, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and South Wiltshire – Our Wessex community. Please book your place: 

CMMPH student wins prestigious Iolanthe Midwifery Trust award

Congratulations to Dominique Mylod, clinical doctoral student in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal and Perinatal Health , Faculty of Health and Social Sciences.

Dominique was awarded a Midwives Award from the Iolanthe Midwifery Trust for her research into early labour, which explores whether using a birth ball at home in early labour improves birth outcomes. She is supervised by Professor Vanora Hundley, Dr Sue Way, and Dr Carol Clark.

The picture shows Dominique receiving her award from Baroness Julia Cumberlege CBE, Patron of the Trust.


Innovation in research and university spin outs

Date: Tuesday 17th JanuaryTime: 13:00 – 16:00Location: EB708, Executive Business Centre, Lansdowne Campus, BH8 8EB


This session is an opportunity to discuss innovation in research and university spin outs. Visiting Professor Tom Kenny will provide some background to university spin outs and startups – what are they? And how do they happen?. Tom is also CEO of Spoonful of Sugar. There will be examples from BU academics and an opportunity to discuss knowledge exchange at BU. We will also hear from Andy Burroughs, Commercial Director at Wessex Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) about innovation in Dorset and whether we can get med tech to patients faster.


13:00 – 14:00: Healthcare businesses/ university spin outs and start-ups; what is it all about? – Tom Kenny, Visiting Professor and CEO of Spoonful of Sugar

14:00 – 15:00: Examples of spin outs and start-ups – Professors Alison McConnell & Tamas Hickish

15:00 – 15:30: Jayne Codling and Rachel Clarke – KTPs, Student Project Bank, Innovation funding – to include HEIF and Innovate UK, Business connections and networking

15:30 – 16:00: Can we get med tech to patients faster? – Andy Burroughs, Commercial Director, Wessex AHSN

16:00 – 16:30: Panel Q&A

BU’s Clinical Academic Doctorates; an example of good practice in new official guidance

The Association of UK University Hospitals (AUKUH) has today released new guidance, Transforming healthcare through clinical academic roles in nursing, midwifery and allied health professions: A practical resource for healthcare provider organisations

The guide is aimed at NHS organisational leads with the responsibility for developing and embedding clinical academic roles for nursing, midwifery and allied health professions. Clinical academics serve as a crucial connection between the NHS and universities, working to train future generations of healthcare workers while engaging in research which can improve outcomes for patients and help increase efficiency.

The guide contains practical information, case studies and templates. One of the case studies highlighted is BU’s innovative clinical academic doctorates. The pragmatic four-year clinical doctorate model enables midwives and nurses to remain in practice while conducting a piece of research to meet clinical priorities. The four-year clinical doctorate is a joint development involving academics at Bournemouth University and clinical colleagues at NHS trusts. The doctorate is structured to enable students to spend two days a week in clinical practice and three days conducting research. All research projects are jointly developed to meet an identified clinical need.

The model originated for midwives in Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, where we have eight fellows, and has now been adopted by the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Poole Hospitals NHS Trust and Dorset County Hospitals NHS Trust (Way et al., 2016). The model is also being extended to other disciplines, with our first nurse fellow at Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Trust.


Professor Debbie Carrick-Sen, Co-Chair of the group which produced the guidance, says:

‘Creating this resource has required a significant amount of collaboration from colleagues across healthcare and we are truly grateful to them. The energy that has gone into it is a huge credit to the professions involved. Through this guidance they have the means to share their immense successes, learn from each other and ultimately work to the benefit of patient care.

‘The guidance will be the starting point. We have established a network of organisational leads with the responsibility for its development and for using it to implement clinical academic roles across the UK. This gives us a fantastic opportunity to begin a nationwide dialogue and to transform health and social care in the UK.’


Way S, van Teijlingen E, HundleyV, Westwood G, Walton G, Wiggins D, Colbourne D, Richardson C, Wixted D, Mylod D (2016) Dr Know. Midwives, 19, 66-67.

WHO statement on eliminating disrespect & abuse in childbirth

The World Health Organization (WHO) statement issued this week challenges governments, clinicians and researchers to respond to the call for the prevention and elimination of disrespect and abuse during childbirth.1   This includes:

  1. Greater support from governments and development partners for research and action
  2. Programmes to improve the quality of maternal health care, with a strong focus on respectful care
  3. Emphasizing the rights of women to dignified, respectful healthcare through pregnancy and childbirth
  4. Generating data related to respectful and disrespectful care practices, systems of accountability and meaningful professional support
  5. Involving all stakeholders, including women, in efforts to improve quality of care and eliminate disrespectful and abuse practices

We, at the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH), strongly support the WHO’s statement that: “Every woman has the right to the highest attainable standard of health, including the right to dignified, respectful care during pregnancy and childbirth.”

Disrespect and abuse are significant barriers to facility birth in many low and middle income countries; an area that CMMPH has been exploring. Lesley Milne and colleagues have been working on this area in Nepal2, while PhD student Rachel Arnold has been working in Afghanistan3.  In addition, CMMPH researchers are looking at dignity within the UK. Dr Jenny Hall is working with the charity Birthrights to explore dignity in maternity care for women with disabilities.

More widely, lack of compassion in health care has triggered HSC researchers to study the issue of the de-humanisation of care.  Consequently, the School of Health and Social Care has a long-standing reputation in the field of humanising care research.  Scholars such as Professor Les Todres, Professor Kate Galvin (now at the University of Hull), Dr. Caroline Ellis-Hill and Dr. Ann Hemingway to name but a few, are at the forefront of this field globally.

CMMPH applauds the WHO stand on this issue and hopes that it helps to maintain the global momentum to eliminate disrespectful care.

 Prof Edwin van Teijlingen and Prof Vanora Hundley


  2. Milne L, van Teijlingen E, Hundley V, Simkhada P. Barriers within hospital (either real or perceived) to women seeking facility based birth in Nepal. Final report to Wellbeing of Women. 2014
  3. Arnold R, van Teijlingen E, Ryan K, Holloway I. Understanding Afghan health care providers; a qualitative study of the culture of care in a Kabul maternity hospital. BJOG (submitted).




WAN Mentoring Event – July 10th

Facilitated by: Dr Colleen Harding, Head of Organisational and Staff Development, Tamsyn Dent, Post-Graduate Researcher, Media School

This session is aimed at:  all staff, male and female, and will be of particular interest to those who are interested in academic mentoring for women, and who are willing to be a mentor; would like to work with a mentor; or who support staff who would like to engage in mentoring.  

When: July 10th 13:00 – 16:30

Where: The Octagon

The purpose of the event is to provide an opportunity for the Women’s Academic Network to:

  • Discuss the benefits of engaging in mentoring
  • Find out more about how mentoring currently works at BU
  • Consider some of the options available to set up an academic mentoring network that specifically supports the needs of female academics at BU
  • To identify the steps that we need to take in order to set up an effective mentoring network.

 By the end of the event participants will have:

  • Discussed some models of coaching and mentoring, including the findings from a doctoral study on the transitional space provided by coaching and mentoring for emerging academics
  • Discussed some of the research studies on mentoring relevant to women in academia
  • Identified the critical steps necessary to set up a mentoring network that specifically supports the needs of female academics at BU

 Register through staff development  

International Early Labour Research Group – 2014 meeting

Photo (L to R): Mechthild Gross (Germany), Marie Nott (UK), Tine Eri (Norway), Helen Spiby (UK)., Viola Nyman (Sweden), Vanora Hundley (UK), Patti Janssen (Canada), Mary-Ann Davey (Australia).

Researchers from across the globe met in Prague recently to discuss early labour research and to plan an international collaborative study. The group has been meeting regularly since 2008 and produced a number of collaborative papers, including a special issue of Midwifery dedicated to early labour and guest edited by two of the team. The meeting was timely given the recent ACOG guideline, related to re-framing established labour at 6cm cervical dilatation.

Presentations included:

  • Meta-synthesis on women’s experiences of early labour – Tine Eri (Vestfold University College, Norway)
  • Clinical midwives and early labour – Viola Nyman (University of Gotherberg, Sweden)
  • Role of media and women’s behaviours in early labour – Vanora Hundley (Bournemouth University, UK) also on behalf of Helen Cheyne (University of Stirling, UK)
  • Early labour triage service on the experiences of women, partners and midwives – Marie Nott (University of Southampton, UK)
  • Scoping Review of definitions of early labour onset and validation of the prediction tool – Patti Janssen  (University of British Colombia, Canada) 
  • Women’s perceptions of pre-hospital labour duration – Patti Janssen  (University of British Colombia, Canada) 

Opportunities for future collaboration were discussed and projects were identified that could involve a number of settings.  The potential for a fit with European Union funding will be explored.  Virtual collaboration will continue with the next face to face meeting to be held at Grange-over-Sands, immediately prior to the Normal Birth Conference 2015.

HSC student Daisy Wiggins wins Santander award

Congratulations to Daisy Wiggins from the School of Health & Social Care for winning a Santander Mobility Award of £1,000. This award will allow Daisy to develop networks to examine decision making in childbirth.

Daisy’s PhD is looking at My Birthplace: a computerized decision making tool to support women, their partners and midwives to make a decision about place of birth. Her match-funded PhD studentship with Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT) is an innovative four year model that enables Daisy to undertake a PhD while remaining connected with clinical practice. She currently spends two days per week working as a midwife in clinical practice and three days per week working on her PhD research. 

The Santander Mobility Award will fund a trip to the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit at the University of Stirling in Scotland. In addition, Daisy will visit Kings College London to network with colleagues at the Women’s Health Unit.

Daisy’s research is supervised by Prof. Vanora Hundley (BU), Dr Carol Bond (BU) and Gill Walton (Head of Midwifery at PHT).

Centre for Midwifery, Maternal and Perinatal Health:

CMMPH PhD students steal the show at the GLOW maternal health conference

The second Global Women’s Health Conference, held in Birmingham on November 1st, highlighted the work that still needs to be done to reduce maternal mortality. Prof Wendy Graham from the University of Aberdeen opened the conference outlining the progress to date but reminding us that there was much still to do. Her hard hitting presentation showed the unacceptable conditions of birthing rooms in many countries. She urged the audience to remember that “we do not want universal health care of poor quality.”

Rachel Arnold

This was followed by a short film produced by BU Visiting Professor Gwyneth Lewis, which tells the story of Mrs X and why she died in childbirth.

A number of presenters highlighted hospital conditions and disrespectful staff as a disincentive for women in seeking facility birth. However, Rachel Arnold, PhD student in CMMPH,  reminded the audience that the carers were women too. She noted that it is all too easy to blame health care professionals, forgetting the challenging conditions that they have to work in. In her excellent and moving presentation Rachel presented quotes from midwives and doctors in Afghanistan that brought a number of audience members to tears.

BU Prof Vanora Hundley presented work from Pakistan evaluating a decision tool to support policy makers and programme managers who are considering the potential role of clean birth kits in their strategy for care at birth.


Sheetal Sharma

While PhD student Sheetal Sharma’s poster presentation Getting women to care in Nepal: A Difference in Difference analysis of a health promotion intervention stole the day winning best poster prize.   Sheetal has a unique international supervisory team led by BU and her PhD is supported by Bournemouth University with a studentship and a Santander grant.

The event was also an opportunity to publicise next year’s international conference on Midwifery and the post-MDG agenda, which will be held at Bournemouth University.

Twenty years after the publication of Changing Childbirth, where are we now?

Twenty years after the publication of Changing Childbirth, an eminent panel of clinicians, politicians and consumer representatives assembled to review the legacy of this key Changing CHildbirthmaternity report. The session, funded by the Wellcome Trust, was held at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in London – an appropriate place given the balance of power at the time of the report.  BU Professors Vanora Hundley and Edwin van Teijlingen were invited to attend as part of the selected audience at the session.

The session started with the panel reminding the audience that maternity services prior to the publication of Changing Childbirth in the early 1990s were anything but women focused. Several speakers noted that this report was the first to put women at the centre of maternity care, and many of the recommendations regarding patient-centred care across the NHS followed on from it. As the president of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Lesley Page commented: “It was common sense, but hugely radical.”

Changing Childbirth was the government’s response to Sir Nicholas Winterton’s ground-breaking review of the maternity services (Health Select Committee report 1992). The review was unique in seeking views from women – as Nicholas Winterton noted, his Parliamentary committee also made history by letting women who came to give evidence breastfeed during the hearing.

Baroness Julia Cumberlege reflected on how she had been determined that the Health Select Committee report would not simply be another filed document but would have an impact. Twenty years on has the report had an impact? 

The discussions covered a wide-ranging number of maternity care issues at the time of Changing Childbirth’s conception, many of which are still issues today in the UK.  We’d like to highlight two of these issues where BU has made an academic contribution.  First, the observation that we need to be cautious in making assumptions about choices that women perceive they have in childbirth. Profs van Teijlingen and Hundley’s research has demonstrated that women often cannot envisage or value potential choices if these options don’t exist in their current environment.1,2   

The second BU contribution to the debate is around the closure of small maternity units. One of the panel members compared the centralisation of maternity services to that of banks and supermarkets.  A comparative study was published in 2010 by Prof. van Teijlingen and BU Visiting Fellow Dr. Emma Pitchforth under the title ‘Rural maternity care: Can we learn from Wal-Mart?’.

Overall the panel was positive about the legacy of Changing Childbirth – that is, a more humanised maternity services. However, all present expressed disappointment at the failure of the NHS to introduce continuity of carer, something that women who gave evidence stated they valued highly. As Nicholas Winterton said: “We have made progress but we should be making further progress – It is unfinished business.”

Vanora Hundley is Professor of Midwifery

Edwin van Teijlingen is Professor of Reproductive Health Research


  1. Hundley V, Ryan M and Graham W (2001) Assessing women’s preferences for intrapartum care. Birth 28 (4): 254-263.
  2. van Teijlingen E, Hundley V, Rennie AM, Graham W, Fitzmaurice A. (2003) Maternity satisfaction studies and their limitations: “What is, must still be best”, Birth 30: 75-82.  
  3. van Teijlingen ER and Pitchforth E. (2010) Rural maternity care: Can we learn from Wal-Mart? Health & Place 16: 359-364.




The portrayal of childbirth in the mass media

Marilyn Cash from HSC’s Centre for Midwifery, Maternal and Perinatal Health recently delivered a paper on the Portrayal of Childbirth in the Mass Media, at the Reimagining Birth International Research Symposium held at the Humanities Institute University College Dublin, Ireland.  The research symposium brought together academics, medics and artists from around the world to explore how childbirth has been portrayed/represented/imagined in the worlds of art and medicine. 

The symposium provided an opportunity for contemporary critical debates into the visual culture of childbirth.  This was a unique opportunity for researchers and practitioners to explore/discuss the visual and sensorial culture of birth, and to contribute to our reimagining of this fundamental personal life experience for mother and child.  Central to the vision of the symposium is the ambition to build connections between interested parties, providing a forum for transcending current knowledge silos and contributing to innovative change in this important personal/cultural domain of human experience.

The paper is part of an ongoing collaboration between academics in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal and Perinatal Health and the Media School and the University of Stirling, exploring the medicalisation of childbirth.  As a direct result of the symposium academics from the group have been invited to present at the Perinatal Care Online Conference to be held in November 2013. For further information please contact a member of the Media and Childbirth research team (which includes: Prof Vanora Hundley:, Prof Edwin van Teijlingen:, Dr Ann Luce:, Dr Marilyn Cash: , Prof Helen Cheyne:, Dr Catherine Angell: .