Pontefract Graduate Midwife tops Chancellor's prizes | Latest news

Pontefract Graduate Midwife tops Chancellor's prizes

Ruth Henderson, Supervisor of Midwives at the Friarwood Birth Centre at Pontefract Hospital, has been awarded the Chancellor's Prize from the University of Huddersfield for outstanding achievement. 

Ruth was given the award for receiving a distinction in MSc Health Studies - Advancing Midwifery Practice; her thesis was regarding physiological third stage of labour. The University of Huddersfield are also assisting her to publish her work. 

Ruth has completed the masters over several years, mainly at the University of Huddersfield, with one module at the University of Sheffield. Ruth has studied hard whilst working full time as a midwife and also balancing family life. 

June Lee, Interim Matron - Community and Outpatient Maternity Services, at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust,  said “Ruth is a valued and respected member of the Friarwood Birth Centre team and we are delighted for her to receive this award, she has worked hard to enhance the experiences of women in this environment. Her studies contribute to both the experience of women and influence midwifery practice.

“Ruth has also recently been appointed as a Supervisor of Midwives - this role is to ensure that the best care is provided to women, babies and their families who use our service.”


Ruth completed her midwifery training at Huddersfield University and carried out her practice placements at Dewsbury Hospital. Before starting her career in midwifery, Ruth worked as a Healthcare Assistant on the Medical Assessment Unit at Dewsbury. Once she qualified she started working at Calderdale and Huddersfield Trust before returning to Mid Yorks as a Community Midwife in 2010.

Ruth has worked at Friarwood Birth Centre at Pontefract Hospital since 2011 and will be transferring to Bronte Birth Centre at Dewsbury Hospital when maternity services are reconfigured later this year.

Ruth has faced a fair share of challenges during her studies, in which her dissertation was delayed by a year when she was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2014.

Ruth said “I know I was not an easy patient to care for, but I am immensely grateful to the Haematology team and staff on gates 21 & 23 at Pinderfields for their outstanding care, which helped to return me back to good health, enabling me to return to work and complete my studies.  The support of my colleagues at Pontefract has also contributed to my achievement, as they have willingly engaged in discussion about practice with me and listened to my endless ramblings about my work.”

Ruth’s dissertation was a comprehensive critical literature review to explore how midwives can support women having a physiological birth to birth their placenta without intervention.  Something of great interest to Ruth and others who share her philosophy of care, which is to provide safe effective care for women while promoting normality, giving women confidence in their bodies' ability to birth their babies and minimising unnecessary interventions in the natural process of labour.

Photo: Ruth Henderson with Professor Christine Jarvis, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield.