RCM launches five-year vision for midwifery profession in Scotland

on 25 August 2022 RCM Maternity Services Midwifery Workforce MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Midwifery Midwives Staffing Levels Wales Government Leadership Midwife Shortage Preceptorship RCM Scotland Scotland Scottish Government Scottish Maternity Services

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) in Scotland has launched a five-year plan to ensure all midwives, maternity support workers (MSWs) and maternity care assistants (MCAs) feel valued and can deliver the highest standard of care to women and babies.

This Five Year Forward Plan was developed by the RCM in Scotland following the results of its 2022 member survey in which midwives said they felt ‘undervalued’ and not always involved in the decisions made about the way they work. They also reported wanting to improve and develop their careers as midwifery professionals but not always having a workplace or opportunities that was conducive to that. The plan outlines the action required by the Scottish Government and NHS organisations in Scotland, as well as steps to be taken by the maternity profession.

The RCM says it wants all maternity staff to thrive, not just survive, but says this cannot happen without listening to the voices of those working in services and enabling them to contribute to the way forward.

Commenting, RCM’s Director for Scotland Jaki Lambert said:

“This plan provides a broad framework to ensure that all midwifery and maternity care in Scotland is safe, sustainable, and future-focused. Key to all of this is ensuring newly qualified midwives have a positive and supportive experience when they enter the profession, but we also want all midwives, MSWs and MCAs to feel heard and to have input into the way the work. Crucially, they need to feel encouraged and empowered so they can develop their skills at any stage of their career. Underpinning all of this is strong midwifery leadership, but we also need a commitment from all those involved in the delivery of maternity services in Scotland to ensure this plan becomes a priority for improvement. We also understand how challenged the workforce is currently, but space must be provided for this plan to move forward to future proof maternity services in Scotland.”

Career development and an improved midwifery career structure are central to the RCM’s recommendations. Others include improving safety by fostering better workplace cultures and compassionate leadership. The RCM says having enough midwives, working in safe and supportive workplaces, is fundamental to achieving this ambition.

Recommendations in the RCM’s Five Year Forward Plan are in line with Scotland’s Fair Work Framework. Over the coming years and as 2026 approaches the progress and success of this plan will be monitored closely by the RCM in Scotland, which will continue to collate feedback from its members on their workplace experiences.

Jaki added:

“There is undoubtedly much work to do to enhance the working life of midwives, MSWs and MCAs in Scotland. We want our members to experience more rewarding and productive working environments and better career opportunities. This will ultimately go towards improving the quality-of-care women and their babies receive in Scottish maternity services. Our measure of success will be our members reporting that they are working in supportive workplaces with, compassionate cultures where there is clear autonomy and ability to contribute.”

In order to drive this forward the RCM says a strategic midwifery leadership group is being developed with representation from across the profession. This will be chaired by Scotland’s Chief Midwifery Officer and facilitated by RCM Scotland.

For interview requests and to contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected]

The RCM publication 'Midwifery in Scotland: Five year plan for the profession’ can be read at scotland-5-year_digital.pdf (rcm.org.uk).

About the RCM

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 | A professional organisation and trade union dedicated to serving the whole midwifery team