A Bradford health worker, praised for ‘services to maternity and healthcare education’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been recognised in The Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her outstanding service to the NHS.
Rukeya Miah, Deputy Associate Director of Nursing and Senior Midwife at Bradford Royal Infirmary, part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM), for her contribution in the field of vaccination.
Rukeya, 51, admitted she was still in shock at receiving the news but was absolutely delighted with the honour.
I have known about the award for about two or three weeks but I haven’t been allowed to tell anyone so it’s been very difficult keeping it a secret.
I’m so busy at work though that I have just tried to forget about it but now the time has come for the news to go out, I am relieved and delighted.
It’s just an incredible honour to be doing the job I care and am passionate about in the NHS over the past 30 years, and to serve our community during the pandemic has been an incredible responsibility but one I am justly proud of.
Rukeya, from Keighley, is married to husband Mashuk and has four children, Tahmina, 26, Shumaira, 22, Imaad, 18, and Hanna, 16.
The British Empire Medal is also an early birthday present for Rukeya who celebrates her birthday on June 14.
My adult life has been devoted to caring for others, she added. The onset of the pandemic and the start of the massive vaccine programme roll-out across the district was an emotional rollercoaster for everyone involved because it was set so quickly and in a pandemic, the likes of which I have never experienced.
We, as a team, pulled together across the district to react quickly and respond to our various communities’ needs as I believe passionately in inclusivity to support people in their hour of need.
One size does not fit the needs of all so we tailored the vaccine programme for our different cultures and I am very, very touched at being given this award as I wasn’t expecting at all. I have just been doing my job and been busy trying to protect and safeguard people throughout the pandemic.
I work clinically alongside my team to assess the quality and safety of our service delivery and also to support and motivate them, especially during tough times. I work alongside the team every step of the way – that’s my style of leadership as I would not ask them to do anything that I wouldn’t be prepared to do myself.
Rukeya started her registered adult nurse training at Airedale General Hospital in 1991 before going on to work at the intensive and coronary care unit.
After getting married and having her first child, she moved to the community for a couple of years before returning to work in Airedale Hospital’s theatres.
In 2001, she returned to undertake further training as part of her registered midwifery degree at Bradford University, joining Bradford Teaching Hospitals as a student midwife before taking up a substantive midwifery post at the Trust in 2004.
She then became a clinical advanced practitioner (an extension of her midwifery role), before completing her Master’s degree, whereupon she juggled her clinical work alongside acting as a part-time undergraduate and postgraduate lecturer at the university.
She moved to the Trust’s Neonatal Transitional Care Unit (NNU TCU) as senior midwife and clinical lead for the examination of the newborn, this post had historically been a medical role, before becoming a supervisor of midwives (now known as a professional midwifery advocate), one of the few in the region.
Rukeya then moved into clinical practice education and became a lead midwife for NNU TCU for babies born too early with underlying health issues.
Getting the best outcome for our patients and our colleagues is what drives me, she stated. Giving people access to health is vital for our diverse communities here in the city.
It’s been an incredible journey and I have worn many hats during my time in the NHS but in everything that I do, I have always I recognised the importance of working collaboratively.
She progressed in her leadership journey as she was promoted to matron for the medicine speciality in 2017. Two years later she became matron for St Luke’s Hospital where she hosted the first ever fun day and other events in 2019.
When the pandemic arrived in March 2020, that autumn she was appointed deputy associate of nursing and senior midwife for Bradford District and Craven Vaccination Programme with the rollout of the first COVID-19 vaccines.
Rukeya was also the district’s vaccines equality lead, a role which led to her working with local, regional and national partners, including those in the voluntary, health and social care sectors.
We brought all our skills together for the greater good of our populations and rolled out the vaccine to save lives across the district, while considering local sensitivities and addressing any concerns with community leaders which created a great partnership, the like of which has never been seen in the NHS before.
Rukeya will be presented with her BEM by the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire and will get the opportunity to attend a Royal garden party at a later date.
Chief Nurse, Karen Dawber, who put Rukeya forward for the award, said:
Rukeya is very dedicated to the people of Bradford, firstly as a serving midwife and latterly in her role promoting equality of access in the COVID vaccination programme.
I am very proud of Rukeya; this honour is very well deserved and is recognition of Rukeya’s commitment and passion.
Rukeya has already achieved great things in her lifetime and I know that she knows no boundaries in wanting to achieve good, fair and equitable services for all.