Welcome step forward says RCM on new programme for maternity leadership training  

By Gemma Murphy on 12 January 2021 Midwifery Funding Maternity Safety Safety Multi-disciplinary care

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has welcomed an announcement by Patient Safety Minister Nadine Dorries that a programme of funding for maternity leadership training will be rolled out later this year.

The £500,000 fund for training is aimed at equipping maternity leaders with the skills and knowledge to improve workplace culture and facilitate greater collaborative working between midwives and obstetricians as well as doctors and nurses.

Commenting, Chief Executive of the RCM Gill Walton said:

“Strong maternity leadership is crucial if we are to meet the challenges currenting facing our maternity services. Working relationships within maternity services are key to improving safety. By equipping more midwives and obstetricians with the skills to improve workplace culture, we will improve safety too. Recent reports on failed and failing maternity services have shown consistently similar cultural problems in the workplace and we have got to work together to address this. Safety must be the driving force behind every decision made in maternity services and can only be achieved with the right number of staff, in the right place, and whose skills are regularly updated with the right training.”

The RCM says its pleased that this new programme focuses on leadership. In 2019 the College launched its own midwifery leadership manifesto for better maternity care which set out seven practical steps to help will help deliver a strong, effective midwifery voice at the highest levels of the NHS to improve safety.

Gill added:

“For some time now the RCM has been calling for improved maternity leadership in every NHS Trust and Board delivering maternity care, because this ultimately improves safety. The RCM has previously recommended a Director of Midwifery, sitting at board level, in every Trust and Health Board to embed midwifery leadership in every part of the NHS that delivers maternity care, so we are pleased that the minister has recognised this.”


Notes to Editors

  1. The new leadership programme will provide training and ongoing support for 700 people including NHS Trust Board Safety Champions, heads of midwifery, clinical directors of neonatal and clinical directors of midwifery, leaders of local maternity systems and regional chief midwives. The programme training sessions will help maternity leaders to develop a number of skills including:
  • Effective engagement with service users and families;
  • Providing a deep understanding at trust board level of the support required for safe and personalised maternity and neonatal services;
  • Enabling effective clinical leadership at all levels across the system, supporting and enabling leaders to identify and address potential improvements;
  • How to support local systems to not only react but also anticipate risk and support the improvements required;
  • Knowledge and understanding of the critical components of a learning system:  leading the learning system, psychological safety, accountability and negotiation, continuous learning, reliability, transparency, quality improvement methodology and measurement;
  • Developing the capability for safety and quality improvement across organisations and the local system drawing on tools, methodologies and case studies;
  • Effective utilisation of learning from episodes of error, excellence and near misses.


2. Strong, effective midwifery leadership key to better, safer maternity care RCM midwifery leadership manifesto launched  https://www.rcm.org.uk/media/3527/strengthening-midwifery-leadership-a4-12pp_7-online-3.pdf

3. Midwives wish for well-led, well-resourced maternity services for the New Year https://www.rcm.org.uk/media-releases/2020/midwives-wish-for-well-led-well-resourced-maternity-services-for-the-new-year/

4. Safety must be the driving force behind every decision say maternity Royal Colleges https://www.rcm.org.uk/media-releases/2020/december/safety-must-be-the-driving-force-behind-every-decision-say-maternity-royal-colleges/




To contact the RCM 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/.