Key People:

  • Practice Development Midwife/Clinical Practice Facilitator:

    Mel Hawkins

  • Obstetric Lead:

    Miss Ammara Ghaffar

  • Anaesthetic Lead:

    Dr Satisha & Dr Zope

  • Admin Support:

    Julie Ward


The maternity unit at Darent Valley Hospital comprises of:

Antenatal Clinic

Providing care primarily for women in the antenatal period to monitor maternal and fetal well-being.

Specialist clinics are provided for:



Pre-term births

Anti-D clinics

Mental health (including medication checks)

Birth choices (for women wanting a vaginal birth after a caesarean section)

Aspen Ward - Postnatal ward for all deliveries classed as low risk

Birth centre - Delivery unit for women to give birth and stay postnatally who are low risk. Includes 2 plumbed in pools for water births

Community midwives - 8 teams of midwives offering care in the community at all stages of pregnancy

Cedar Ward - Antenatal ward with high-risk postnatal beds

Tambootie ward - A 24-hour maternity assessment unit for women to be assessed if they are unwell or experiencing any problems/complications of pregnancy, labour assessments, or postnatal problems. There is also fetal assessment offered for reduced fetal movements, blood tests and other tests/reviews 

Delivery suite - Birth place for high risk labours, needing epidurals or for caesarean section births

All midwives and maternity support workers (MSW) rotate throughout most of the areas on the unit (with the exception of community and antenatal clinic- this is staffed by 2 senior midwives, rotating band 5 midwives & MSWs) . All areas have core teams and a manager

We have a team of anaesthetists who are located on delivery suite and obstetricians work throughout the unit

At Darent Valley we currently have 64 students working through a 3 year degree course and 3 apprentice midwives working through a 4 year degree course. All students work in every area of the maternity unit. We are a very supportive unit and offer students a wide variety of teaching, drop-in sessions and opportunities to work alongside some of our specialist midwives. Our staff have regular updates in supporting students and most are trained to the level of practice assessor. We have a very good working relationship with the university and have 2 link lecturers who attend the unit frequently to offer students and supervisors support and to assist with the update on our maternity specific study day


For band 5 midwives there is a 12-month preceptorship programme in place which involves achieving 10 competencies to transition to a band 6 midwife. The process is supported by the PDM who has regular contact with the preceptees. As part of the programme there is a week dedicated to training which includes a variety of specific topics including cannulation, IV additives & suturing amongst a host of pertinent subjects There are regular drop-in sessions on offer covering a wide variety of topics i.e., bereavement, smoking in pregnancy, safeguarding and emergency scenarios. At Darent Valley we pride ourselves on our preceptorship programme which offers a wealth of experience in a supportive and nurturing environment.

Our band 2 & 3 support workers are encouraged to undertake the care certificate with offers experiences and learning to enhance their role. Our future plan is to explore the possibility of an apprentice role.

As a team we are encouraged to train together as research has indicated the positive outcome of maintaining MDT training. Every month we host 4-5 study days as detailed below:


Skills drills


Obstetricians- all grades




Revision of all aspects of emergency scenarios (including breech, shoulder dystocia, maternal cardiac arrest, Neonatal resuscitation & postpartum haemorrhage)

Workstations for practical skills


Human factors






Updates on all current midwifery matters including:

Practice Supervision


Antenatal screening

Feedback from complaints

Tissue viability

Smoking in pregnancy

Mental health

Blood transfusion

Infant feeding



All aspects of infant feeding

3 days

Day 1: Basics, anatomy, introduction (Once only)

Day 2: Problem solving, assessment, expressing (Once only)

Day 3: Updates and combination of 1 & 2 (3 yearly)

Fetal well-being masterclass



Covers all aspects of fetal monitoring and physiology

Continuous electronic fetal monitoring

Including interpretation and physiology

Intermittent fetal monitoring


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