Dionne Levy is a Perinatal Midwife at St. Mary’s and Queen Charlotte’s hospital, part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Having completed her Midwifery training, Dionne identified a gap in the service and set up a clinic for vulnerable women with mental illnesses outside her catchment area, working closely with the mental health team at Imperial. The clinic was immediately hugely popular and Dionne’s tireless efforts led her work to be recognised in October 2016 when she won the prestigious Nursing Times Rising Star Award. The award, sponsored by NHS Professionals, NHS England and The Florence Nightingale Foundation, aims to identify and recognise a Nurse or Midwife ‘who has been qualified for less than five years and demonstrates exceptional qualities that embody the best of nursing and the leadership skills to inspire others to follow their example’.

Since winning the award, Dionne has continued to work as a Perinatal Mental Health Midwife. Due to an increased workload and the recognition she gained as Rising Star, she now has another Midwife to support her work. This means she has the opportunity to provide more training and create literature that is tailored for pregnant women with mental illnesses, and continue spreading the word and making a difference. As a result of winning the award Dionne has had many wonderful opportunities open to her, such as meeting Prince Charles both at St. Mary’s hospital and Clarence House. Dionne claims that the award has helped her Trust see the value in the Perinatal Mental Health Service, and she now has an important input in devising a management plan for the service for the next two years. In the future, Dionne aspires to develop the service still further by having a team of midwives supporting women with mental illness in pregnancy. She also plans to take courses in CBT, counselling and mindfulness to help her develop more antenatal classes and groups. You can learn more about Dionne’s work and read an interview with her here.

We are delighted that Dionne will be giving a plenary session at the Florence Nightingale Foundation Annual Conference on 3rd February 2017: ‘Seeing and filling a gap in service – a personal story of service transformation’. In this session, she will share her amazing story of hard work and dedication and explain how she ensures that women in her care are not stigmatised due to their mental illnesses but are instead treated like any other person. It promises to be a moving and truly inspirational session!

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