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How does the RCM Alliance Programme benefit midwives? We take a look.

16 December, 2016

How does the RCM Alliance Programme benefit midwives? We take a look.

Set up in 2004, the Alliance Programme supports strategic partnerships between the RCM and commercial organisations.

A pictorial guide to birthing positions; the Mums’ Midwife of the Year Award; a webinar on addressing weight management issues; an A to Z guide to pregnancy and nutrition.

What do these things have in common? They all came about as a result of the RCM’s Alliance Programme.

Set up in 2004, the Alliance Programme supports strategic partnerships between the RCM and commercial organisations.

Currently there are seven in place – each carefully considered, only coming about after a lengthy due diligence process.

Every partnership is also supported by the RCM’s director for midwifery and a senior midwife to ensure RCM guidance and best practice is always followed.

They have an important part to play in generating revenue to develop new resources and campaigns, and fund the RCM’s work to support its members. Partner support is also vital to RCM events, including the annual awards and conferences.

But the partners bring much more than this. Research grants and bursaries, leaflets, websites, i-learn modules, webinars, educational resources, research, and evidence-based practice are all direct benefits of the programme.

It also has a vital role to play in raising the profile of the RCM and extending its reach, with partner channels helping to deliver public health messages, and generate feedback from families.

While all share the common goal of promoting the interests of midwives and supporting pregnant women, babies and their families, each partnership has a specific focus, drawing on the strengths of the individual organisation. 

RCM Alliance Programme - Johnson

 

JOHNSON’S®, an Alliance partner for more than 12 years, works with the RCM to support evidence-based infant skincare practice. Current initiatives include a guide to infant skincare and resources around multi-sensory stimulation to support brain development in babies, including a supplement outlining clinical research and a tear-off pad to provide parents with information and tips on sensory stimulation.

 

Royal College Midwives Alliance Programme - Pregnacare
For Vitabiotics Pregnacare®, a partner since 2009, the focus is on vitamin care – with resources for midwives and mothers-to-be to communicate key messages about nutrition and pregnancy, including an A to Z guide to pregnancy and nutrition and a due-date calculator for members.

 

 

 

Royal College Midwives Alliance Programme - Slimming World
In the case of Slimming World, which joined in 2012, the focus is on weight management and healthy lifestyle in pregnancy. Projects include a website helping women manage their weight safely during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as well as training and resources – including a webinar and i-learn module – to help midwives broach this difficult but important issue with women in their care. In addition, Slimming World has supported the RCM’s Caring for You campaign, with tailored advice on healthy eating for shift workers. It has also run special offers for RCM staff and members.

 

Royal College Midwives Alliance Programme - Lansinoh
Breastfeeding continues to be supported by the RCM Alliance through a new partnership with Lansinoh. The company already conducts annual surveys into breastfeeding attitudes and behaviours, along with clinical studies, to inform its work. Further research and the development of resources are planned through the Alliance to support breastfeeding initiation and continuation.

 

Royal College Midwives Alliance Programme - Emmas Diary
Building on its support for the Mums’ Midwife of the Year Award, Emma’s Diary has also recently become a partner. Its work with the RCM will focus on information and research to support the health and wellbeing of expectant new mothers. Plans include a new RCM section in Emma’s Diary publications – a useful platform for sharing public health information; and the partnership will also provide new channels to gather feedback from women to inform RCM initiatives.

 

Royal College Midwives Alliance Programme - Kellogs All-Bran
The newest member of this exclusive club is Kellogg’s All-Bran. This partnership highlights the challenge of fibre deficiency during pregnancy, and the negative consequences for digestive health. Research, factsheets and online training will all play a part in spreading this message. Already Kellogg’s has supported an RCM-accredited CPD module on the role of fibre in pregnancy, and sponsored an educational session at the RCM annual conference outlining simple advice to improve digestive health.

 

The benefits 

There is much to be gained on both sides. Partners are able to draw on the RCM’s breadth and depth of knowledge, and the insights of its members. They are also able to use RCM logos to reflect their support and place in the Alliance, subject to RCM review. For example, from January next year, an RCM supported logo will be shown on the JOHNSON’S® TOP-TO-TOE® range, which is backed by evidence-based research.

Clearly the RCM and its members also benefit greatly. The support is not only important at an organisational level, but also on an individual basis, providing resources to midwives when NHS funding is under pressure.

And everything produced through the Alliance is carefully reviewed by the RCM, which means midwives and mothers can rely on the resources to be evidence based, current and accurate.

The connection with big consumer brands also raises the profile of the RCM, helping it to encourage evidence-based research and disseminate information, as well as opening up channels of communication with the wider public.

Cathy Warwick, RCM chief executive, says: ‘The Alliance Programme is a fantastic resource for the RCM and our members.

‘Through the additional income and energy that the partnerships provide, we are able to offer tailored services and resources that membership income would not cover.

‘The partners also make a significant contribution to the RCM awards and conference, as well as other events such as the MSW conference.

‘I believe that carefully considered, well-managed partnerships with a range of high-quality companies are a brilliant way of helping us all to carry out our roles to even better effect.’

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