‘A remarkable legacy’: Midwife who ran specialist therapy service for mums retires

Fife Midwife Joan Taylor At Her Retirement
Joan Taylor was joined at an event to celebrate her retiral by her mums and babies, including eight-week-old Jack Fotheringham (DC Thomson)

Childcare, Early childhood development, ​Learning through play (Early years), Safe pregnancy and birth

Joan Taylor's reflex therapy for pregnant women in Fife, Scotland, was backed by the Jennifer Brown Research Fund.

Joan Taylor has made a huge difference in the lives of thousands of people.

In a career spanning more than five decades, she delivered countless babies as a midwife and helped mums-to-be in her other role as a reflexologist.

Joan has just retired at the age of 70. She had been a community midwife for many years before she set up her specialist reflex therapy service in Fife in 2007. 

It offered a form of reflexology designed for maternity care, aromatherapy and massage. The treatments can relieve morning sickness, breast feeding problems and stress.

For six years, the service was backed by the Jennifer Brown Research Fund – which was set up in 2002 in memory of the baby daughter of Gordon and Sarah Brown, who is President of Theirworld.

“Sarah gave me an amazing start and I couldn’t have done this without her help,” said Joan.

Joan Taylor Says Farewell To Nhs Fife Colleagues At Her Retirement Event

Joan with colleagues who gathered to wish her a happy retirement (DC Thomson)

In its early stages, her reflex therapy service was for five hours a week and had only eight patients.

“I was told to apply to the Jennifer Brown Research Fund and then met Sarah and got the funding,” said Joan.

“Almost immediately, I broke my leg and couldn’t do my midwifery work for a while. But I was able to return to the reflexology – and within a year had 100 patients a week. 

“My bad break turned out to be a lucky break.”

The Jennifer Brown Research Fund continued to finance Joan’s reflex therapy work – which she continued to do alongside her midwifery – for six years. When that ended, her patients led calls for more funding from the NHS.

Joan, who was awarded an MBE for services to complementary services in 2014, said: “The health board realised it was such an asset that they funded me and continued until this year.”

Joan Taylor is one of those very special people who has made the world a better place. Konrad Caulkett, Theirworld's Grants and Finance Director

Retiring from the NHS means she will spend more time with her six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. But her health work isn’t quite finished – she’s going to be providing therapies for nursing home staff.

Theirworld supports the work of the Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory to minimise some of the life-threatening complications that can arise for mothers and babies. It also supports small, innovative, community-based schemes led by nurses and midwives to support families and babies.

Konrad Caulkett, Theirworld’s Grants and Finance Director, said: “Joan Taylor is one of those very special people who has made the world a better place for thousands of babies and parents at the most crucial time in their lives.

“Not only has Joan been utterly committed to the health and wellbeing of mums and new babies, but she has developed innovative new midwifery care therapies using specially designed reflex therapy now recognised widely within the NHS. 

“Joan leaves a remarkable lasting legacy and we wish her all the very best in her active retirement.”

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