Prestigious parliamentary role given to UCLan midwifery professor

Posted on - 14th March, 2021 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Education, Preston News, UCLan
Uclan meadia factory. Pic: Tony Worrall
Uclan Media Factory. Pic: Tony Worrall

Soo Downe, Professor of Midwifery Studies at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), has been appointed to the Expert Panel of the Government’s Health and Social Care Committee.


The UCLan academic is one of four new panel appointees, chaired by Professor Dame Jane Dacre, to evaluate the progress the Government has made against its own commitments in the area of maternity services.

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Professor Downe has been a midwife since 1985 with extensive experience of maternity service improvement in the UK and internationally.

Professor Soo Downe

Professor Downe said: “I am delighted to take up this new role. My goal now is to accelerate the implementation of sustainable, evidence-informed, compassionate, safe and personalised care.

“Together with my panel colleagues, our aim is to influence Government policy, making sure women and their babies from all backgrounds have the best possible experiences and outcomes.


“At the same time, we want to ensure the staff who provide maternity care are fully supported to do the best job they can.”

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Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP added: “The expertise of individual panel members in terms of patient experience and health policy will be invaluable in assessing the pace of progress.   

“The work of the panel means the Government  will be  held to  account by an evaluation process similar to that used across the NHS and social care system, focusing attention on areas where a number of vital commitments have been made, starting with maternity services.”

Read more: UCLan receives national funding for census research with Avenham and Kirkham primary schools

In addition to Professor Downe the other new panel members are: 

  • Professor Alexander Heazell, Director of Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre, University of Manchester;
  • Sarah Noble, Associate Director of Midwifery at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust;
  • Professor Dame Lesley Regan, Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at St Mary’s Hospital, London.

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