Midwives respond to announcement of more mental health support for NHS workers
The Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced a package of measures to better support the mental health of NHS workers. Put together by Health Education England (HEE), it includes an offer of rest spaces for on-call staff, a 24/7 support and advice phone line and quicker access to mental health referrals for NHS workers. Other proposals include specific support for staff immediately after a traumatic incident and the introduction of Workforce Wellbeing Guardians.
Responding, Sean O’ Sullivan Head of Health and Social Policy at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said; “The RCM welcomes this announcement from the Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock. We know when staff are overworked, under intense pressure due to staffing shortages and other factors they struggle to provide the best care and their physical and mental health suffers. This has a negative impact on their ability to work to the highest levels and standards of care and safety can decline.
“That is why in 2016 the RCM launched its Caring For You Campaign aimed at improving midwives and maternity support workers health, safety and wellbeing at work, so they are able to provide high quality maternity care for women and their families.
“To date 86 percent of UK maternity units have signed up to the campaign charter. The RCM has also been working with health and safety representatives to embed our campaigns ethos with practical day to day initiatives to help better support the health and wellbeing of our hardworking midwives and MSWs.
“Our research has shown us that when midwives physical and mental wellbeing is supported, employee involvement and retention increases, motivation and performance levels increase and outcomes for women improve. The RCM believes investment in the health and wellbeing of staff is an investment in care for women and their families.
“The RCM hopes the recommendations contained in Health Education England’s report on the mental health and wellbeing of NHS staff from last year will now be considered as part of the NHS long term workforce plan due to be published in April. There also must be sufficient investment to make these vital recommendations to support the mental and physical health midwives and all NHS staff a reality.”
More Information on RCM’s Caring Campaign is available here.
For further information please contact the RCM Media Relations Team on 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected]
Notes 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/.