Welsh student midwives drive race agenda forward with Welsh Government
Student midwives from Cardiff University, supported by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), last week met with Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething to call for greater action on race equality. Among the students’ proposals was an ask for race and equality training for all staff and a request to improve opportunities for black, Asian and ethnic minority staff.
The group of four student midwives and one of the group who has since qualified from Wales, discussed unconscious bias and shared potential solutions with the minister and Karen Jewell, the Chief Midwife for Wales, to tackle race and equality issues in maternity services. They also hope to empower more student midwives to challenge racism openly with colleagues and peers.
Commenting after the meeting, RCM’s Director of Wales Helen Rogers said:
“It’s great to see the passion of these students and newly-qualified midwives, all of them at the start of their careers and already determined to make maternity services better. The RCM’s Race Matters programme was launched last year to tackle racism and discrimination faced by those who work in and access maternity services. The suggestions put to the minister by the students and midwives today could make a significant difference to the way services support those that use and work in them.”
Commenting, Vaughan Gething Minister for Health and Social Services in Wales, said:
“I was delighted to meet this inspiring group of midwifery students, who powerfully told the story of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women’s experiences of maternity services. As we developed the Welsh Government Race Equality Action Plan, which will launch for consultation this week, we heard similar feedback on the experiences of women in pregnancy and post-partum care and it is clear we have work to do. I look forward to seeing this work progress in collaboration with the RCM to ensure improved outcomes for women and families in the future.”
The RCM says there is much work still to do to improve the experience of its black, Asian and ethnic minority members, and to improve the experience and outcomes for pregnant women of colour. The RCM has embarked on a national training programme for its staff and activists to support this, as well as committing to greater representation and visibility of its black, Asian and minority ethnic members at every level of the organisation and its activity.
Notes to Editors
- RCM Race Matters Campaign https://www.rcm.org.uk/media/4128/race-matters-a-statement-by-the-rcm.pdf
- RCM advice NHS staff who may be more at risk from COVID-19 because of the race can be read at https://www.rcm.org.uk/media/3939/risk-assessment-wraparound-guidance-a3-may-2020.pdf.
- NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) https://www.england.nhs.uk/about/equality/equality-hub/equality-standard/
- NMC Equality and Inclusion framework https://www.nmc.org.uk/about-us/equality-diversity-and-inclusion/
- The Inequality of COVID-19 https://www.rcm.org.uk/news-views/rcm-opinion/2020/the-inequality-of-covid-19/
- BME Midwives, Disciplinary Proceedings and the Workplace Race Equality Standard https://www.rcm.org.uk/media/1887/equality_diversity_publication_bme_midwives_race_equality.pdf
- System failing BAME women’ says RCM https://www.rcm.org.uk/media-releases/2020/june/system-failing-bame-women-says-rcm-on-new-study/
- RCM offers advice to pregnant women as new study shows heightened risk to some communities https://www.rcm.org.uk/media-releases/2020/may/rcm-offers-advice-to-pregnant-women-as-new-study-shows-heightened-risk-to-some-communities/
- NHS Staff Survey 2020 - Discrimination: Ethnic background continues to be the most common reason for discrimination https://www.nhsstaffsurveys.com/Page/1085/Latest-Results/NHS-Staff-Survey-Results/
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/.