Invest in technology to make maternity services safer says RCM

on 15 March 2021

Maternity services can deliver even safer and better care through more investment and support to use digital technology says the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), calling for a Digital Midwife in every maternity service. Investing in this area will also free up midwifery time enabling more time with pregnant women, says the RCM.

Research suggests that electronic records could increase time spent by midwives in providing direct care from 30% to 70%. By reinvesting that time into clinical care, there is potential to improve dramatically a woman’s journey through pregnancy and beyond.

RCM Digital Advisor Hermione Jackson said: “For too long maternity services have been overlooked, passed over and generally left at the back of the queue when it comes to digital investment. Investing in digital technology and giving staff the training and equipment they need will lead to better care, regardless of where that care is delivered.”

Better use of digital technology will not only enable maternity staff to spend less time on admin and more time on clinical care, it will also improve the experience of pregnant women. Having to repeat information to different healthcare professionals can be frustrating, and for some women, such as those who have experienced previous pregnancy loss, it can be deeply upsetting too. The Better Births Five Year Forward View report in 2016 said that 90% of women want to access their maternity records digitally.

Hermione added: “There is clear evidence that more and better use of digital technology is supported by women, midwives, maternity support workers and other maternity staff. We need the Government and hospital Trusts and Boards to give maternity services the tech they need to do their jobs even better. Improvements have been happening but at a snail’s pace and we need to see this move much more rapidly simply to catch-up with other areas of the NHS.”


The RCM will also be publishing new guidance on electronic record keeping for midwives and maternity support workers later in March.


ENDS

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/.

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