RCM calls for dramatic changes in midwives’ working conditions and workplace wellbeing

By RCM calls for dramatic changes in midwives’ working conditions and workplace wellbeing on 23 September 2020 RCM Maternity Services Wellbeing Of Women Safety Caring For You campaign Race matters BAME Pay Staffing Levels NHS Staff Midwives MSWs - Maternity Support Workers

The Royal College of Midwives has today welcomed a report from the King’s Fund which calls for minimum standards to improve working conditions for midwives and nurses, and to address exhaustion and burnout in both professions. The report sets out eight key recommendations, including tackling excessive workloads and building cultures that support staff to do their jobs even better.

Commenting, Jon Skewes, Executive Director for External Relations at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said: “Midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) work incredibly hard to provide the safest and highest quality care for mothers, babies and their families, so it is only right that we in turn look after them. We cannot expect stressed, exhausted and demoralised staff to continue delivering high levels of care. A recent RCM survey showed that midwives are often unable to find the time to even go to the toilet on long, demanding shifts, working unpaid overtime, and this happens day after day. This is simply unacceptable.”

The report also found that stress, sickness absence and turnover in the professions are at worryingly high levels, made worse by the pandemic and highlighting long standing staffing shortages, workload issues, and inequalities.

Jon Skewes added: “Supported and valued staff will in turn be able to offer the safest and best possible care. We need to give them the resources and support they need to do their jobs. This means dramatically improving their working conditions and paying them a fair wage for their incredible work. The RCM has long recognised the importance of this, establishing the Caring for You campaign to improve the workplace health and wellbeing of midwives and MSWs. That is why the RCM launched its Race Matters campaign to improve the working lives of our black, Asian, and other minority ethnic staff. And that is also why the RCM is calling for an early and significant pay rise for our midwives, MSWs and their NHS colleagues. This Government and the NHS have a duty of care to NHS staff, and they are failing to honour it.”


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

The RCM has a long running Caring for You campaign to Improve the health and wellbeing of midwives and MSWs in the workplace. Information on the Caring for You campaign can be read at https://www.rcm.org.uk/supporting/getting-help/caring-for-you/.

To read about the RCM’s Race Matters campaign visit https://www.rcm.org.uk/supporting/race-matters/.

To see a recent RCM survey on midwife and MSW working conditions visit https://www.rcm.org.uk/news-views/rcm-opinion/2020/midwives-skipping-breaks-and-working-overtime/.

To view the RCM’s call for an early and significant pay rise for midwives and MSWS, see https://www.rcm.org.uk/news-views/news/2020/august/rcm-calls-for-an-early-and-decent-pay-rise-for-midwives-and-maternity-support-workers/.

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/.