RCM responds to HSIB report into intrapartum stillbirths during COVID-19

on 16 September 2021 Covid-19 NHS Staff Maternity Services Maternity Safety Safety NHS Funding Funding Midwives Stillbirth Stillbirth Report Intrapartum care BAME Pregnancy

The pandemic has had a significant and detrimental impact on many aspects of healthcare, including maternity care the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has said in response to a new report into stillbirths during COVID-19 by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB).

The rates of stillbirths among women from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities has once again highlighted the inequalities that exist, the College says, and that urgent investment is needed to improve services for these women.

This latest report from HSIB looked at 37 stillbirths and contains recommendations for NHS England and others.

Responding, the RCM’s Director for Professional Midwifery, Dr Mary Ross-Davie said:

“While this report doesn’t reflect the full national picture it is nonetheless devastating for the women and their families who have lost their babies. Ethnicity and language barriers are a big issue in this report with only a quarter of those that needed interpretation services getting them. Investment in this area and service improvements are urgently needed so women and their families have access to 24/7 translation or interpretation services.”

The pandemic has required midwives and maternity services to adapt to new care practices and ways of working. This, says the RCM, has put additional pressure on services already buckling under existing midwife shortages and staff absences, which COVID-19 has only served to exacerbate.

Mary added:

“In some respects, the ability to provide some maternity care virtually has been a silver lining of the pandemic and has enabled women to access advice and support by virtual means. We know many women have benefited from this, particularly those living in remote and rural areas who may have to travel long distances to in-person appointments or those with other children and caring responsibilities. That said the RCM has been clear in its advice throughout COVID-19 that its crucial women attend in person appointment with their midwife so observations such as blood tests and fetal growth can be measured.”




To contact the RCM media office call 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected]. 


Notes to Editors


The Royal College of Midwives (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.