RCM calls for more efforts to end discrimination in maternity and neonatal care

on 12 July 2023 RCM Maternity Services Midwifery Midwives Midwife Shortage Safe high quality care Staffing Levels Government Midwife Training NHS Child Mortality Clinical practice Equality and Diversity Healthcare Professionals Infant Mortality Maternal Death Midwifery Workforce Neonatal Care Student midwives Women Race matters Maternity Safety

The RCM has committed to supporting midwives and maternity staff to deliver safer and better care for Black women and those from Asian and other ethnic communities. Its groundbreaking work on decolonising the midwifery curriculum will, it says, go some way to ensure that midwives are taught in a way that reflects the communities they serve. The toolkit the RCM has produced as part of this programme tackles multiple issues, including encouraging student recruitment from diverse backgrounds, and ensuring the curriculum educates students to care for women and babies from non-white backgrounds.

Sally Ashton-May, Director for Midwifery Policy and Practice at the RCM, said: “We have got to double-down on all of our efforts to eradicate racism and discrimination from our health services as a matter of urgency. We live in a multicultural society and our health services and how we train our health professionals have simply failed to keep pace and recognise it; this must change and quickly.  

“The RCM will continue our work to make maternity care better for these women and their babies, but we cannot do it alone. We need to see the promises in the NHS workforce plan become a reality and at pace. Only then will midwives and their colleagues in our overstretched and under-funded maternity services have the time and resources to give these women the advice and support they need.”

The RCM also has a long running RCM Race Matters programme and resources to support better care around perinatal mental health. The RCM’s mentorship programme to support Black and Asian midwives with their career development aims to increase the number of senior midwives from these communities. The RCM is also collaborating with many organisations - including the Race and Health Observatory and Health Education England - to improve care and support for Black, Asian and other minority ethnic women.

The full NHS Race and Health Observatory report can be read at NHS Race and Health Observatory calls for new maternity assessments for minority ethnic newborns - NHS - Race and Health ObservatoryNHS – Race and Health Observatory (nhsrho.org).


To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected].

Notes to Editor 

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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.