RCM calls for clarity and leadership from Government
By RCM calls for clarity and leadership from Government on 25 March 2020 Midwives RCM Maternity Services NHS Staff Midwifery Midwifery Workforce Safety Government Pregnancy CMO - Chief Medical Officer
The Royal College of Midwives has today expressed its frustration at the continued lack of clarity coming from the Government on the protection of health workers, including those who are pregnant. From the continuing shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and lack of testing for staff to undermining clinical guidance, the Government is sowing concern and mistrust.
Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the RCM, said: “We know that, in pandemics such as this one, healthcare workers are taking a higher risk than the rest of the population to care for the rest of us. To mitigate that risk as much as possible, it is vital that we provide them with the right level of protective equipment. What we are hearing from our members up and down the country is that this simply isn’t happening. It is unacceptable that there are midwives and maternity support workers across the country who are supporting and caring for women who have or may have coronavirus without enough masks and other protective equipment.”
There is additional concern for healthcare workers who themselves are pregnant. While there is no clinical evidence that pregnant women who are otherwise healthy have any additional risks of contracting the virus or, in the most part, experiencing a more severe illness, the Government’s decision to define them as ‘vulnerable’ has caused significant anxiety. It also places additional requirements on employers to ensure the health and safety of the pregnant workforce which are not reflected in the current clinical guidance.
Gill Walton continued:
“The Prime Minister’s announcement last week that pregnant women are vulnerable to coronavirus undermined the clinical evidence. It was an irresponsible move that is adding considerable and unnecessary stress to an already worried public. For pregnant healthcare workers, who may have higher exposure to the virus, that stress is amplified yet further.
“We need the Government, through the four national Chief Medical Officers and NHS organisations, to provide urgent clarity on this, to ensure that all pregnant healthcare workers are afforded the right level of safety and support according to the law.”
Notes to Editors
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