Award Finalist

bjm-awards-2017-finalistWe are absolutely delighted and proud to announce that our wonderful team leader, Tanya Ashton, has been shortlisted for The British Journal of Midwifery Practice award 2017: Midwife of the Year.

“The judges have debated, scrutinised and voted on each and every entry. BJM magazine has totalled these scores and the fact that you receive this notification shows that you’re through – well done!

This is a fantastic achievement and recognises the quality and innovative nature of the work you are doing.”

Thank you all for your continued support and feedback, which was vital to the nomination entry submitted by the team. You can read the full nomination below the cut.

What has this nominees contribution to midwifery services been?

Tanya Ashton believes in women.

She believes in women’s capacity to make decisions about the care they receive, she believes in their innate instincts about how they birth and nourish their children and she believes that the staff she supports have the ability to provide care to the high standard she exemplifies

Tanya Ashton is a midwife who’s entire career has been forged with the purpose of ensuring that every woman she comes in to contact with is at the centre of her care and is empowered with the knowledge and confidence to make fully informed decisions about that care. Tanya wears many midwifery hats but each one supports this core belief.

Along with obstetric consultant Matthew Koomson (see testimonial) she created and runs the Birth Options Clinic where any woman can discuss and formulate a plan of care with multidisciplinary staff. This service is well utilised by those who’ve had traumatic experiences and operative deliveries.

Tanya is a founding team member and current team leader of the Surrey Hills Home Birth team, a small case-loading team that provides continuity of care for women planning to birth at home.

Her unwavering belief for informed decision-making and birthplace choice are also reflected in her roles as the Royal Surrey County Hospitals lead for normality and as a Supervisor of Midwives.

How has their care/practice benefitted women/babies and colleagues?

Tanya’s practice has had a hugely positive impact on the women she serves through direct client contact via her many roles and indirectly through her strong, supportive leadership of the homebirth team and the example sets for all midwives she comes in to contact with (see testimonials).

Over the five years she has been working in, and latterly leading, the Surrey Hills Homebirth team, the trust has seen an increase in the homebirth rate from 1.9% to a monthly average of 4.7%, with 95% of all clients achieving a vaginal birth (figures relate to birth outcomes 2015). Clients are encouraged to explore all of their options for birth. Many client explore Hypnobirthing, a large proportion choose to birth in water (60%), and the majority elect to have a physiological third stage (100% of primiparous women who birthed at home, Team audit Jan-April 2016)

She has fostered relationships with the multidisciplinary team (obstetric, ultrasonography and supervisory) making it easier for women to explore off policy options for birth, e.g. homebirth following caesarean section and declining post dates induction.

Going above and beyond she attends clinic appointments to advocate for clients in person, and gives up valuable days off to support the midwives who are supporting women making less common decisions about their care.

How will their work continue to support midwifery practice?

Midwife, mentor, role model, team leader, supervisor and inspiration, Tanya will continue to support women, their families and the midwives who serve them though her carefully considered and complimentary roles.

Supporting Evidence: Testimonials


Multi Disciplinary team

Working closely with Tanya Ashton for more than seven years, I have become increasingly amazed by her exemplary work ethic. She is reliable and an embodiment of dedication, knowledge, skill and warmth. In 2009, Tanya was exceedingly instrumental in starting the unique Birth Options Clinic, popularly referred to as BOC, which as a part of Normalising Birth Team won the Trust 2011 Recognition Award, ‘IMPROVING PATIENT CARE AWARD’.

Tanya’s confidence, unceasing smile, calm demeanour and in-depth understanding of maternity healthcare matters always assure women of their wellbeing and allay anxieties. Tanya is thus very passionate about supporting women with their informed birth choices and is a keen advocate for normalising births and home births.

Tanya’s professional attributes mark her out as a role model and she continues to impact and share her vast wealth of experience and knowledge through training and mentoring of midwifery students who hopefully will perpetuate her qualities within the maternity service.

Tanya Ashton is a tenacious character who will work beyond the call of duty and is an asset to the maternity service.

Matthew Koomson

Consultant, Obstetrics

She is a highly effective Supervisor who goes above and beyond to ensure the safety of women in her care. Ensuring access to high quality evidence to support informed choice and decision making while being an advocate among the multidisciplinary team for the positive care and treatment of women.

As a woman she has supported me with Deana frost through 2 pregnancies that were booked homebirths, my 1st went post dates but she was there every step of the way through a traumatic induction and difficult postnatal period to an amazing utterly intervention free homebirth with number 2. Without the care and compassion they showed me I wouldn’t be the mother or the midwife I am today.

Kate Conway

Practice Development Midwife, Supervisor of Midwives and former client.

As a doula I have had the great pleasure of working regularly with Tanya. Her wish above all else is to ensure women are heard and get the best possible care during pregnancy, the birth and postnatally.

She goes above and beyond the call of duty every time. She fits in with the women not the other way round. She is calm, incredibly knowledgeable and very funny!

She has opened her arms to working with doulas and made us all feel a welcome addition and part of the team at home births.

She has lead the Surrey Hills Homebirth Team to a great position and consequently the Homebirth rates are really good in the area. They offer woman centered care and it’s a beautiful thing that more women should be able to enjoy.

In a nutshell Tanya embodies all the attributes of the very best Midwife.

Zara De Candol,

Doula, Doulabud

I have had the very great privilege of experiencing Tanya’s care through two parenting journeys, and her mentorship as a midwife undertaking a new model of care. In both roles she demonstrated patience, information sign posting, an innate belief in me (even when I lacked belief in myself) with plenty of figurative and literal handholding along the way.

Without Tanya I wouldn’t have had the confidence to birth two of my own children at home, two of the most fulfilling experiences of my life, and I certainly wouldn’t have had the confidence or the inspiration to take my midwifery career in a different direction. A direction which has re energized me as a midwife and allowed me to recapture the love I have for my profession. Without her timely support, I don’t believe I would be practicing today and celebrating fourteen years as a qualified midwife.

Caroline Cousens

Home Birth Team Midwife and former client

Tanya was my midwife for both of my pregnancies and births at home. I saw her from the booking appointment right through until she discharged me to health visitor care. As a midwife myself I felt fairly confident about what I was doing. However, at times I lost this confidence and Tanya showed me such compassion and understanding, where I was able to build it back up. She believed in me and my body. I know if it wasn’t for her I definitely wouldn’t have had the two amazing birth experiences I had at home. This care she gives to every single woman in her care despite their background and experienced and builds confidence in them to have the birthing experience they hope for.

Laura McLean

Home Birth Team Midwife and former Client

Surrey Hills Homebirth Team.

The following testimonials have all been provided by clients of the Surrey Hills Homebirth team, which is led by Tanya Ashton, more testimonials and team information can be found at


I would like to share with you the impeccable service that my husband and I received from Tanya Ashton of the Surrey Hills Home Birth Team.

Tanya attended our home birth on Saturday 17th August 2013. As soon as she arrived she filled the house with calm and this continued until our daughter was delivered 7 hours later on Sunday 18th August.

Tanya was not only able to deliver a professional service she was able to make it personal, caring and respectful.

Tanya’s technical knowledge and friendly upbeat attitude made me and my family feel safe and reassured. Tanya communicated with my husband so that they were both able to care for me, their relationship was fantastic throughout my labour. It is fair to point out that until this point my husband had never met Tanya, yet like the calming influence Tanya had on me she was able to have the same effect on my husband.

Since the birth of our daughter we feel that Tanya has been a god send, she still enters our home and emits calm over the frantic chaos. Her advice has been invaluable and I have valued the relationship that has been forged between me my husband and Tanya. She is a very special person and we cannot thank her enough for delivering our daughter safely in to the world and for taking care of me and respecting my wishes.


I can’t say it wasn’t painful or that I went off to my happy place and hummed through the whole birth, but it was without a doubt a positive birth experience and exactly what I had hoped for. This time I felt like I was listened to and looked after amazingly, what more could I want

September 2016

Homebirth is a wonderful experience and the team is fantastic. I was lucky enough to have both my sons at home and both births amazing.

Maternity Friends and Family Test August 2016

Every member of the home birth team has been excellent from initial registration through to postnatal care. They really care about mum, baby and the whole family. It was such a shame baby came to quickly for any of them to be at the birth!

Maternity Friends and Family August 2016

Homebirth team made birth experience excellent, made birth experience really positive. Cannot thank them enough

Maternity Friends and Family Test June 2016

Having a baby is life changing and we’ve been lucky to have started this new chapter with some of the finest people that I’ve had the pleasure to meet. Thank you home birth team, you’re awesome

“Ezra’s Home birth”

By establishing a relationship with the team during their visits, knowing and trusting the midwives made it an easier, more relaxed and welcomed experience

“An empowering and euphoric birth “

The care that I received throughout my pregnancy and following the birth was amazing. I felt that I had very personalized care, every appointment was relaxed and informative, every question that I had was answered in detail and I think that it is all these things that helped me to have a very positive birth experience

April 2016


The level of care the homebirth team gave is amazing – from helping to breastfeed, checking on our wellbeing and becoming a friend of the family. Our little boy is now 10 days old, he is fortunate enough to have not been near a hospital or doctors’ surgery as everything has been done by the homebirth team. Some people might think the word empowered and euphoric is a little OTT but it really is how I feel and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Obviously, there is a place for hospitals, and without a great deal of medical intervention we wouldn’t even have got pregnant in the first place. But giving birth can be different, if all is well being able to have a baby at home and being under the care of the homebirth team is a wonderful privilege. The only negative is being discharged by the team, as we miss them so much. However, we are very much looking forward to the Homebirth coffee morning in a few weeks!


2 thoughts on “Award Finalist

  1. You all rock guys, your work is amazing and you make everything look so easy. I will never forget when, just after delivering my third daughter, when she wasn’t breathing on her own, I looked at Tanya asking if she was ok. She looked back at me showing no sign of worry at all and said, she’s absolutely fine. I’m sure, although she knew everything would most likely be ok, she had her worries, but all she transmitted was calm and positivity. And that is what I felt. Can’t thank you all enough, particularly Laura, Sam and Tanya, for your support, advice and understanding especially with the ups and downs of my particular journey. Keep up the awesomeness!


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