Wednesday, 6th February 2013
Commenting on the publication today of the Francis Report, Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “The recommendation to introduce a new duty of candour is an excellent suggestion. We hear far too often from midwives who are genuinely petrified about raising the alarm bell over poor quality of care. They fear that senior managers will come down on them hard simply for raising concerns. We need to transform the culture of the NHS so that midwives and others who need to raise concerns feel happy and secure in doing so. NHS staff must never again be afraid to raise concerns about standards of NHS care. Today must be a watershed for the NHS.
“It is good news too to see a tough new system that will hold senior managers in particular accountable for their actions. The power to disqualify those who prove themselves unfit to manage the NHS is a massive step forward and matches the rules that currently apply to midwives and are being rolled out to doctors.
“We welcome that NICE will be asked to set minimum safe staffing levels for the NHS. For too long the NHS in England has been thousands of midwives short, and we are at the edge of safe care. Minimum safe staffing levels for maternity care, for example, will mean that finally the NHS will be forced to recruit the midwives and other NHS staff needed to provide safe care.
“It is also good to see Francis recommend the regulation of health care assistants, such as maternity support workers. The safety of people being cared for by the NHS must be paramount and regulating all those providing care helps achieve that.”
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Notes to editors
The Royal College of Midwives is the voice of midwifery. We are the UK’s only trade union and professional organisation led by midwives for midwives. The vast majority of the midwifery profession are our members. The RCM promotes midwifery, quality maternity services and professional standards. We support and represent our members individually and collectively in all four UK countries. We influence on behalf of our members and for the interests of the women and families for which they care.