RCM calls for better work-life balance for midwives and MSWs

on 29 June 2021 Midwifery Midwives NHS MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Flexible Working Pay and Agenda For Change

Greater flexibility around working arrangements is essential to retain and recruit more staff says the Royal College of Midwives (RCM). This comes as plans for improved flexible working provisions for NHS staff in England are set to come into effect in September 2021.

Alice Sorby, Employment Relations Advisor at the RCM, said: “Greater flexibility around working arrangements is crucial if we are to retain the NHS midwives and maternity support workers (MSW) we have, and bring more into our maternity services. The sort of flexibility and better opportunities for work-life balance open to many outside the NHS need to become as mainstream as possible within it. This has though got to work for all NHS staff including those on the frontline delivering care every hour, night and day. For too long NHS workers have been straightjacketed into a rigid working regime that means many who would stay in the profession have had to leave because of family and other commitments, and the same problems deter others from joining.

“The agreements we are working towards and that are outlined today will go a long way to achieving that and could substantially improve the working lives of our incredible health workers. This will make the NHS a much more modern and worker friendly employer and aims to do much towards reducing the serious shortages of midwives and other NHS staff.”

The new flexible working provisions are set to come into effect on 13 September this year. The RCM will be updating its own flexible working guidance to reflect these changes and will publish them around the same time as the new Agenda for Change Handbook provisions on flexible working. Ahead of this it will also be supporting its activists to engage in discussions locally as NHS trusts prepare for these changes.


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.