RCM comments on NHS long term plan

on 04 January 2019 Midwives Specialist Midwives Maternity Services NHS England Smoking

Today (Saturday January 5th 2019) the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has responded to a media release from NHS England which details information on part of the NHS’s long term plan. This NHS news release focusses on alcohol consumption and smoking, in particular smoking during pregnancy.

Commenting, Sean O’ Sullivan Head of Health and Social Policy at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said; “The RCM welcomes this announcement in particular the focus on tackling smoking rates during pregnancy. The commitment to fund intensive support for women to stop smoking during pregnancy and to encourage their partners who also smoke to quit is particularly welcome. 

“What the RCM would like to see is a major investment in smoking cessation specialist midwives if these plans are to become a reality. In a recent survey conducted by the RCM in which heads of midwifery from across the UK responded it was reported that almost 70 percent (69%) of them did not have a smoking cessation specialist midwife in their maternity teams. 

“Also, midwives need access to appropriate training and need time off to complete training to become a specialist midwife and we know as our members tell us often maternity services are too short staffed that planned training is postponed far too often as midwives are called back to understaffed labour wards to care for women and their babies. 

“While the RCM welcomes these plans we are concerned that health budgets to councils have been cut and as a consequence local authorities who provide smoking cessation services are struggling to meet the demand within local communities in England.

While the RCM supports this part of the NHS long term plan, the implementation of the entire plan just like the recently announced new maternity package cannot be done on a shoestring – successful implementation of any such plans  will need real investment in the recruitment and retention of midwives, in the training of more specialist midwives.”



To contact the RCM’s media office call 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/.