Commissioning of report into Northern Ireland midwifery services ‘a step in the right direction,’ says RCM

on 24 May 2023 RCM Maternity Services Midwifery Midwives Government Pregnancy Midwifery Workforce Department of Health Director For Northern Ireland Expectant Mothers Education Midwife Shortage Midwife Training Midwifery Training Places Northern Ireland Preceptorship RCM Northern Ireland Safety Safe high quality care Staffing Levels Stress Student midwives Women's Choice Women

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has welcomed the Department of Health’s announcement today on the commissioning of a report into Northern Ireland’s midwifery services. The College sees this review, to be led by Professor Mary Renfrew, as a move in the right direction to deliver more choice and safer and better maternity care for women, babies and their families. 

Karen Murray, the RCM’s Director for Northern Ireland, said: “It’s a positive move and one the RCM welcomes, and could not be in better hands than Professor Renfrew. Women in this country generally have less choice about their pregnancy and birth than women elsewhere in the UK, and I want to see that change. Whatever flows out of this must make services better for women and for the staff who support and care for them. The voices of women and staff will be crucial to ensuring that happens. 

“This comes at a time when our maternity services are facing significant challenges. It is vital that we get maternity services right, making them work for women now and fit for purpose into the future. That is why the RCM has repeatedly called for a maternity and neonatal strategy for Northern Ireland: one that looks at the whole maternity and neonatal service and ensures a clear route map and a focus to deliver for women and families. This includes retaining the midwives we have and increasing their numbers to meet rising demands on services, so that we have the resources and staff to deliver midwifery services. The work that Professor Renfrew has been commissioned to do will certainly contribute to that vision.” 


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

Notes to Editor  

More information on the report can be read at Department commissions new report into Midwifery Services in Northern Ireland | Department of Health (

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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.