Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT) has appointed a new head of midwifery to help launch a new model of care in the region.

Joanne Hayward brings more than 25 years of healthcare experience to the trust, and qualified as a midwife in 1997.

As interim head of midwifery, Joanne will be responsible for implementing the recommendations from Better Births, a national strategy that will shape the maternity services of the future.

She is also leading the launch, in the spring, of a new model of care that focusses on providing continuity of care for women.

The model aims to ensure women have a chance to get to know the midwife who will support their delivery, therefore providing a better experience.

Joanne said: "I am delighted to be joining the dedicated and hardworking staff at NDHT at what is a challenging but exciting time for the maternity service.

"We want to provide a women-centred service that empowers staff to work collaboratively to deliver safe and high quality care.

"The maternity team at NDHT have been overwhelmingly welcoming and are keen to embrace the challenges ahead, and I look forward to working with them all."

The Care Quality Commission issued two requirement notices to NDHT to ensure services are improved after an unannounced inspection in July, including in the maternity department.

The report, published in September, recognised NDHT had addressed areas such as investigations into incidents in the maternity unit, and better waiting lists for outpatients following its 'requires improvement' rating in October 2017.

But further areas for improvement included the cleanliness of the emergency departments, and addressing mandatory staff training in the maternity unit and across the trust.

It was also told it had to produce audits to measure how effective the maternity unit service is.

Darryn Allcorn, chief nurse of the trust, said: "It is great to welcome Joanne to the team at NDHT. She is joining at a time when the service is taking some really positive steps forward.

"She comes with a breadth of knowledge and a passion for delivering excellent care to women and has played an important role in shaping enhancements to the service."