Emma Willis Supports RCM’s celebration of Maternity Support Workers

on 21 November 2019 MSWs - Maternity Support Workers MSW Week MSW advocates

TV presenter Emma Willis who has championed the role of maternity support workers (MSW) has offered her support to the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) MSW Week 2019.

Emma trained and worked as a maternity care assistant and her experiences were broadcast in the programme 'Emma Willis: Delivering Babies' on the W Channel, part of UKTV.

In her message of support Emma praises the work of MSWs and their incredible contribution. She said: “I had a wonderful time training to be a Maternity Care Assistant at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and I am delighted to help the Royal College of Midwives during their week-long campaign to celebrate the role of Maternity Support Workers.”

The RCM celebrates the RCM MSW Week from 25th November to 1st December 2019. This year also marks ten years of RCM MSW membership.

The RCM’s MSW week will celebrate the contribution MSWs make to the safety and quality of maternity care. MSWs are an integral part of the maternity workforce. They play an important role in supporting midwives and the wider maternity teams, and mothers and their babies through pregnancy, labour and during the postnatal period. 

The MSW week includes events organised by RCM branches in hospital trusts and boards across the UK. There will also be RCM study days for MSW members across all four UK countries including MSW leadership sessions

This year also saw Keelie Barrett from East Lancashire Hospitals elected as the first MSW on the RCM governing Board. There are also increasing numbers of RCM MSW Advocates in workplaces. This is a key role that supports MSW colleagues in RCM branches across the UK.

There have been many recent advances around the MSW role. This includes the launch of the Health Education England MSW Competency, Education, and Career Development Framework earlier this year. This follows other UK countries that have produced similar frameworks. These frameworks though are not mandatory and not all employers are using them and that remains a concern. We do need to see all employers using them to ensure safe maternity care and opportunities for career progression.

Great strides have been made in MSW’s development including more specialist roles such as infant feeding support, public health and postnatal support. They also have a key role in continuity of carer in maternity services.

Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: MSWs are the unsung heroes of our maternity services and I am so delighted that Emma has offered her high profile support for this. MSWs do so much and contribute so much in so many areas. I am delighted that we now have a significant and growing body of MSW members of the RCM. The RCM is working really hard to make sure MSWs are supported in their workplace and get the training they need to do their jobs, along with recognition of the value and importance of the role.

“They underpin care for women, babies and their families and give midwives invaluable support so that they in turn can perform their role even better.

“We are having a week of celebration to showcase what MSWs do and how critical to care they are. Our maternity services need them, midwives need them and most importantly women and their babies need them.

“I wish all of them a great week and thank them for their contribution, commitment and dedication to women, babies and their families.”

Every year the RCM also celebrates MSWs with the Maternity Support Worker of the Year Award at the RCM Annual Awards.

For more information on MSW Week 2019 see https://www.rcm.org.uk/supporting/maternity-support-worker-week-2019/.

For more information on MSWs see https://www.rcm.org.uk/promoting/learning-careers/become-maternity-support-worker/.

See also the RCM's Position Statement on MSWs at https://www.rcm.org.uk/media/2303/maternity-support-workers.pdf.

Notes to Editors

The RCM offers, along with union representation, a number of professional tools for MSWs. This includes dedicated MSW modules including a MSW Advocate course' on the RCM’s ilearn e learning platform. For information on the RCM training offer for MSWs see www.rcm.org.uk/rcm-events/ .

For information on the RCM Maternity Support Worker of the Year Award see https://www.rcmawards.com/.

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/.