Our MCA Journey in Fife

By Aileen Lawrie, Head of Midwifery, NHS Fife on 24 November 2022 RCM Branches

Maternity Care Assistants (MCA) were identified as a valuable role, in supporting midwives to provide care for women and their families.

We recognised the challenges in relation to predicted retirement of midwives in addition to the reduction in midwifery retention. In 2019, we were funded to support the implementation of an MCA team contributing to the workforce. The approach we chose in supporting the role of the student MCA, was to ensure they were exposed to all maternity areas including the neonatal unit. This was to provide an opportunity to learn working and supporting midwives in all environments.

The MCAs on completion of the course are allocated on a yearly rotational basis, rotating between community, vulnerable groups and inpatient areas. The midwives know that MCAs are invaluable. They are always keen to adapt the role to meet the needs of the service, further their knowledge and practise their skills within their sphere of practice. 

The impact of the pandemic and midwives leaving has been minimised thanks to having MCAs in post. Our twelve qualified MCAs are now an established part of the maternity team with a further four students on course. Here are some quotes from our members: 

"What I find the most rewarding about the MCA role is we are there to support new parents in the first few hours/days of their parenthood experience. We have a really hands on role where we have the opportunity to provide advice, tips and techniques that will help them throughout their parenthood journey. 

"This could be by helping establish breastfeeding, demonstrating how to bah babies or even just being someone for them to talk to and ask questions. I really enjoy my role as a MCA and have really enjoyed the new responsibility and having the chance to care for new parents and their babies."

" I really enjoy my job as a MCA, I find it very rewarding and an honour to be part of a women and her family's journey. Assisting women  in the early stages of postnatal care and watching the bond and enjoyment of a newborn baby being welcomed into the world is so lovely to experience. Assisting with feeding, changing and bathing is an honour when a family trusts you with their newborn."

"I enjoy my job as an MCA as every shift can be different as we work across a variety of departments within the maternity unit. I also feel very privileged getting to be part of a woman's journey into parenthood and help educate caring for baby and provide feeding support. It makes my day knowing I have made a family feel confident in taking their baby home."