University honours Carmel’s lifelong commitment to midwifery and nursing

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Tuesday 28 November 2017

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A celebrated midwife who has dedicated more than 30 years to helping expectant mothers and students across the Midlands has received an honorary degree from Coventry University.

Carmel McCalmont, Head of Midwifery at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust, was given an honorary doctor of science in recognition of her significant contribution and outstanding pursuit of excellence in healthcare. 

The former nurse has over 30 years’ experience as a practising midwife, and remains influential in supporting and promoting healthcare training and innovation across the sector.

She has been Head of Midwifery at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust for 15 years, as well as Associate Director for Women and Children’s Safeguarding at the NHS Trust.

Born and brought up in Coventry, Carmel studied for her undergraduate degree at Coventry University before completing a master’s in medical ethics and law at Keele University – later returning to her home city to gain a postgraduate certificate in higher education. 

In 1981 she took up her first post as a staff nurse at Walsgrave Hospital and it was there that she found her calling on the maternity wards – being made  midwifery sister at the hospital just five years later.

In 1989 she began work as a community midwife in Coventry where she was able to work closely with both families and students. In 1992 she returned to Walsgrave Hospital as clinical specialist on the labour ward and later worked as head of midwifery at St Cross in Rugby.

Carmel re-joined UHCW as clinical midwifery manager, and since 2011 she has been their Associate Director of Nursing for Women and Children’s Safeguarding.

She also now serves as co-chair of the West Midlands Heads of Midwifery group, and sits on the Royal College of Midwives Advisory Group.

During her career, Carmel has worked with NHS Improvement to develop a tool around safe, sustainable staffing in midwifery services.

She helped change activity across midwifery after co-authoring an article with a parent who wished to have their three children at the birth of a fourth child – a request that met deep resistance at the time. She later co-wrote a book supporting student midwifes. 

In 2013 Carmel was named as a Health Care Hero, and given a Lifeline achievement for her services to midwifery at the Pride of Coventry Awards. In 2016 she was invited to meet the Prime Minister in Downing Street to celebrate nurses and midwives and their contribution to the NHS.

Carmel is supported by her family, with six nieces and nephews with whom she is very close – even being at the birth of her two great nephews.

Carmel said:

“I am absolutely delighted to be receiving this award and grateful to Coventry University for the recognition, and for a fantastic job they do in training and developing the Midwifery workforce.  At UHCW NHS Trust, we are lucky to work with some incredibly compassionate and dedicated Coventry University midwifery students and recent graduates.”

For further press information, please contact Hannah Smith, press officer at Coventry University, on +44 (0)24 7765 8352 or at