System failing BAME women says RCM on new study

By System failing BAME women says RCM on new study on 08 June 2020 Midwives RCM Midwifery Maternity Services RCM CEO covid-19 Covid-19

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is calling for urgent action as a study published in the BMJ today (Monday 8 June) shows more than half of pregnant women recently admitted to UK hospitals with a COVID-19 infection were from black, Asian or other ethnic minority (BAME) groups.

RCM Chief Executive Gill Walton said: “Clear and urgent direction and leadership is needed from the Government to tackle this issue. Even before the pandemic women from black, Asian or ethnic minority backgrounds were more likely to die in and around their pregnancy. This crisis has exacerbated this, putting women at risk. Help and support is there for these women, but we need to ensure it is accessible for the communities most in need of it.”

The RCM has already launched a targeted campaign to raise awareness amongst pregnant women from BAME backgrounds and to reassure them and their families that help is available during the pandemic.

The poster campaign reiterates the message that maternity services are open, alongside four key messages:

  • If you have a cough, are breathless or feel hot and shivery, call your midwife
  • Attend all your appointments. Some maybe by phone or via video
  • If you are worried about your baby’s movements or if you are bleeding call your midwife immediately.
  • Make a private space for you and your midwife during home visits.


Gill Walton added, “Despite the huge efforts of midwives and their maternity colleagues, black and Asian women are still at unacceptable risk. The system is failing them and that has got to change quickly, because they matter, their lives matter and they deserve the best and safest care.”




To contact the RCM media office call 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected].

 Notes to Editors


  1. The RCM’s Taking care of yourself and your baby RCM Infographic can be viewed at
  2. The RCM Advice for Pregnant Women during Covid-19 is at
  3. Information for NHS staff who may be more at risk from COVID-19 because of the race can be read at
  4. To read all of the RCM’s information and guidance around COIVID-19 visit
  5. The RCM will be launching a campaign on 22 June to address race and equality issues within maternity services, not only for midwives and maternity support workers, but also the women in their care.

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