RCM Responds to Lib Dem Election Manifesto - Want to see firm commitment to more midwives

on 20 November 2019 Midwife Shortage Maternal Mental health Perinatal Mental Health Baby Box

Today the Liberal Democratic Party has published its election manifesto.

Commenting on the manifesto, Jon Skewes, Executive Director for External Relations at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said: "These are positive commitments but as always we need to see the detail. 

"We are pleased to see the RCM and its support for baby boxes mentioned.* 

"Postnatal care and the number of visits by midwives and other maternity staff should be based on the mother's needs, so the detail behind this needs examining.

"It is encouraging that they recognise the importance of mental health for pregnant and postnatal women. The RCM has campaigned for improvements in this often overlooked and underfunded area, including calling for a specialist mental health midwife for every NHS trust.

"There are commitments for more staff in the NHS and this is welcome. Right now, England's NHS is short of around 2500 full time midwives. We would like to see a firm and public commitment to ending the midwife shortage specifically. This is a massive gap in our workforce and is having an impact on the quality of care for mothers’ babies and their families, and an impact on hardworking, overstretched midwives and other maternity staff.

"There is a clear need for substantial, sustained and long-term investment in maternity services and the wider NHS. We need to see this political party and the others really nail their flags to the NHS mast, commit to it and see it through whoever becomes our next Government. Manifesto promises are one thing, doing it when in power is another."

The RCM published its Manifesto for the General Election earlier this month. For more information, see https://www.rcm.org.uk/media-releases/2019/november/rcm-launches-its-manifesto-for-the-2019-uk-general-election/

*See the RCM’s Position Statement on Baby Boxes at https://www.rcm.org.uk/media/3415/baby-boxes_2.pdf.

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/.