Midwives welcome Government plans to include women’s voices in new healthcare strategy
Using women’s lived experience to inform and develop health services that better support their needs is key to improving experiences and outcomes. That is the message from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) as it welcomes the Governments ‘call for evidence’ to improve women’s healthcare.
To mark International Women’s Day, women, healthcare professionals and organisations that support, and champion women’s health are being encouraged to share their experience via an online survey. The results will aim to inform the basis of a Government-led Women’s Health Strategy, to improve the health and wellbeing of women across England.
Commenting, RCM Chief Executive, Gill Walton said:
“We welcome this ambitious Government-led plan to include women’s voices in the development of such a large strategy. We know that placing women at the centre of their own care not only improves outcomes in pregnancy, but also improves a woman’s experience of birth and maternity care. Midwives are trained to discuss options with the women they care for and provide clear and concise information to enable them to make informed choices that are right for them and their families. So, we are pleased that the Government has invited women and those that care for them to share their opinions and experiences so services can be shaped to better support them in the future and throughout their life, from birth.”
The RCM has recently launched its own Maternity Voice Network which is aimed at improving women’s experiences of maternity care. The network brings together women, midwives, maternity support workers and student midwives to supply and influence the RCM’s work. The aim of this network to further align the needs of women and their families across the UK with RCM members, and ultimately improve the maternity journey for women and midwives.
“We know that midwifery care during the early stages of pregnancy can really support women’s overall health and for some women it can be their first significant encounter with the NHS. This is often when underlying healthcare problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes are first discovered. Midwives can also support women to manage their weight during pregnancy and specialist stop smoking midwives and are so important, given the rates of smoking during pregnancy and the impact that can have on the health of both the mother and the unborn child.
The RCM will be answering this call for evidence and we encourage our members working on the frontline in addition to the organisations we work closely with to do the same.”
To contact the RCM media office call 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected]
Notes to Editors
- The call for evidence will run for 12 weeks from 8 March 2021.
- It has been designed to be user friendly, quick to fill out and easily accessible from people’s mobiles. People who live with and care for women, healthcare professionals such as midwives and MSWS and organisations with experience of providing services for women and those with an expertise in women’s health are also encouraged to share their views.
- Co-creating the RCM Maternity Voices Network https://www.rcm.org.uk/rcm-events/2021/co-creating-the-rcm-maternity-voices-network/
- RCM guidance and support for pregnant women and maternity during COVID-19 is available here: https://www.rcm.org.uk/coronavirus/
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/.