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Country news: Northern Ireland

26 May, 2017

Country news: Northern Ireland

News and updates from RCM Northern Ireland by director Breedagh Hughes (Midwives Summer 2017).


Northern Ireland (NI) has become the first country in the UK to achieve 100% sign-up to the Caring for You campaign. Congratulations to Anne Wilson, all our local reps and the HoMs – this is really fantastic news. 


Plans to celebrate the centenary of the Midwives Act in Ireland are progressing well, and a request has been sent to mothers and midwives to share their personal stories. The idea is to publish a book of 100 stories spanning 100 years of midwifery in Ireland. The RCM has established a small centenary celebration planning group and we’ll be organising a number of events to mark this historic occasion.


Having affiliated to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) last year, the RCM flag was flown at the annual May Day parade in Belfast. We have since submitted a motion for debate during conference, which will be held in Belfast in July. The motion highlights the absence of perinatal mental health services throughout Ireland and calls on the ICTU to join the RCM in campaigning for specialist perinatal mental health services. 


The International Day of the Midwife (5 May) was celebrated in style in maternity units across NI, with every trust holding at least one event. The RCM NI team supported a wide range of events. On 4 May, I was in Wexford at the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation’s Annual Delegates Conference.


The midpoint review of the NI maternity strategy has been published, along with the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority review of perinatal mental health services. Both are of interest, but the pressing concerns to our members remain – a growing workforce shortage, the variation in midwives’ pay across the UK and the need for additional finance to ensure the continued roll-out of the maternity strategy.

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