Working culture, a crucial factor in delivering safer maternity care, says RCM on World Patient Safety Day

on 17 September 2021 Safety Maternity Safety Safe high quality care Midwifery Midwives Maternity Services Multi Disciplinary Working RCM

Poor working cultures must be tackled if we are to make UK maternity services safer, so says the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) on World Patient Safety Day.

A positive working environment, where multi-disciplinary teams work and train together, are better equipped to deliver good quality, safe care for women and families, according to the College. This comes as the RCM publishes the latest in its Solution Series aimed at supporting, maternity services, midwifery leaders and midwives to implement recommendatins laid out in the Ockenden Review to improve the quality of care they are delivering for women and their babies.

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

“Maternity staff who feel supported and valued provide  better care.  We also know that when there is a positive working culture between teams the quality of the care improves. Poor organisational culture has been identified as a key factor in recent investigations and reports on maternity safety and there is a growing body of evidence clearly linking culture with safety. Improving the culture and working environment in maternity services must be a shared endeavour between all members of the maternity team. Safety needs to be everyone’s business.”

The College has warned that change needs to happen at pace both at local and national level. With significant shortages of midwives, there is an even greater need to get culture right. Making Maternity Services Safer, nurturing a positive culture is the fourth instalment in this safety series from the RCM and includes practical tools to help services and midwifery leaders improve culture in their services. The series also highlights studies from organisations like the King’s Fund, results of NHS staff surveys and brings together shared learning for its members. 

Mary added:

“Detailed reviews of maternity services across the UK, and including the most recent Interim Ockenden Review, have highlighted worryingly similar serious failings that must be addressed. Maternity services are battling right now with many challenges in particular a shortage of midwives. We know midwives are working harder than ever before and services are under pressure, and we are concerned that many of our members are facing burn out. Nurturing a positive work culture also means ensuring the health and wellbeing of maternity staff is being prioritised. Healthy, well-rested, and valued staff can deliver safer better care and in turn improve outcomes for women and their babies.”




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


Notes to Editors


  1. Solution Series: Making Maternity Services Safer, nurturing a positive culture Publications (
  2. Time lessons are learned, and mistakes not repeated says RCM as its launches new safety series
  3. The Kings Fund Supporting nurses and midwives to deliver high-quality care framework
  4. RCM’s Caring For You hub
  5. More Solution Series publications here: