Midwives need time and resources says RCM commenting on Scotland Health of Nation report

on 25 April 2019 Scottish Government Scottish Maternity Services

Today the Scottish Government has published the Annual Report for the Chief Medical Officer 2018 - 'A Summary of the Health of the Nation'. The report includes a focus on the rise in premature births in Scotland.

Commenting Dr Mary Ross-Davie, Director for Scotland at the Royal College of Midwives, said: "This important report clearly sets out the pressing need to focus on reducing health inequalities at the very start of life, through promoting healthy lifestyles during pregnancy. There is a clear need to continue to focus on supporting more women to give up smoking before or during pregnancy and to support more women to enter pregnancy at a healthy weight and to manage their weight during pregnancy.

"Higher rates of smoking and obesity are closely linked to wider social and financial inequalities in Scotland. As a country there is much we can do, not just in maternity services, but much wider across society in other ways, such as education in schools, focusing on positive preconception care, advice and support, the reduction of poverty and social exclusion and a real focus on improving the health of everyone in our communities.

"We are seeing a rise in births to older mothers, who tend to experience more complications in pregnancy such as pre-term births. It is important that we continue to improve our maternity services to ensure that all women get the best possible care and support.

"In order to provide really excellent care that focuses on these public health issues and supports women to make healthy changes to their behaviour where needed, midwives need to have adequate time, training and resources. 

"We also need to have adequately funded local support services that can provide wider support to women who need it, including specialist smoking cessation services, benefits and financial advice services, housing services and dieticians. 

"We hope that this report will be followed by a good level of Government resources to make the aspiration for a healthier Scotland a reality."

Read the report

Note to editors

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.