Invest in maternity services and support staff says RCM ahead of Welsh election
Improving the quality and safety of Welsh NHS maternity services and supporting staff post-pandemic must be priorities for the next Welsh Government says the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) launching its Blueprint for maternity care in Wales today. Coming ahead of national elections the RCM also calls for improvements in mental health support for pregnant and postnatal women.
Those in power after the election must also ensure there are enough midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) with the right training to support the safest possible care. The RCM also says the ongoing Health Inspectorate Wales (HIW) Maternity Review recommendations must be implemented across the country.
Maternity services have stayed open throughout the pandemic supporting and caring for women and babies night and day. Giving exhausted and sometimes traumatised staff who have worked through the past year time to recover must also be a priority, says the RCM.
The five areas for action for the next Welsh Government are:
- supporting post-pandemic recovery for the NHS and its staff;
- improving maternal mental health support for women post-pandemic;
- improving the safety of maternity services;
- more resources to support the public health work of midwives; and
- midwife and student midwife numbers – ensuring the NHS recruits and retains staff.
Helen Rogers, Director for Wales at the RCM said: Helen Rogers added, “There have been improvements but there is more to do to make our maternity service the world class one it should be, delivering the safest and best possible care. There is, I am sure, the political will in Wales to do this, but we need to see this followed through; for the sake of those delivering the care, and for women, babies and their families.”
Midwives and MSWs are already playing a key role in driving improvements in public health, and the RCM is calling for more resources to help them do more, and even better. This is crucial work as Wales faces high levels of smoking in pregnancy and the ‘health timebomb’ of obesity. Investing in maternity is also an investment in better public health and will support the Government’s efforts to help Wales be healthier says the RCM.
Helen Rogers added, “We need ongoing investment in our maternity services, in staff and in training right across the country. The pandemic has shown how crucial the NHS is and how vital its staff are. Let’s support them and let’s support services so that we have maternity care that is second to none.”
To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected].
Notes to edito
The Royal College of Midwives ‘Blueprint for better maternity care in Wales’ can be read at https://www.rcm.org.uk/media/4905/blueprint-for-better-maternity-care-in-wales-april-2021.pdf. The Welsh language version can be read at https://www.rcm.org.uk/media/4906/blueprint-for-better-maternity-care-in-wales-april-2021-translation.pdf.
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/.