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RCM launches manifesto of five 'asks' of election candidates

30 May, 2017

RCM launches manifesto of five 'asks' of election candidates

The RCM has launched its manifesto for the General Election with a focus on better outcomes for women and midwives from the European Union, and a call for fair pay.

It has set out a list of ‘asks’ and the RCM will be sending all the election candidates a copy of its manifesto.

RCM chief executive Cathy Warwick said that it was important that the next government invested in the NHS and maternity services. 

‘Services need to be given the resources to meet the demands they are facing. At the moment this is not the case and the safety and quality of care that many women receive is simply not good enough.

‘Investing in staff is an investment in the NHS and an investment in patient care,’ she said.

The manifesto has said that the issue of fair pay for NHS midwives and MSWs is a priority. If their pay had risen at the rate of inflation since 2010 midwives would today earn £6000 more than they actually do. The manifesto calls for the NHS Pay Review Body to be allowed to make recommendations on pay without interference from the government, and that the government should honour those recommendations. 

It has also called on the next government to address the midwife shortage. 

The NHS in England is short of around 3500 midwives. The number of NHS midwives in England rose by just 79 over the last year – less than half an extra midwife per maternity unit per year. 

Yet the birth rate is rising and care is becoming more complex. The manifesto says that shortages have consequences, and improvements in the quality and safety of maternity care is dependent upon eliminating the shortage. 

Related to midwife shortages is the precarious position of EU staff in the NHS. There are around 1300 midwives from other EU countries working in the NHS in England. 

The RCM believes that the government should act immediately to secure the right of these midwives to remain in the UK post-Brexit. Losing these midwives will only worsen the existing serious shortage.
Ensuring better outcomes in pregnancy is another ask. This includes ensuring women have better continuity in the midwives they see throughout and after their pregnancy. The manifesto stresses that having too few midwives makes it harder to achieve this and can undermine the safety of care.

The manifesto also highlights the important public health role of the midwife. It highlights how midwives can support women and families give their newborn babies the best possible start in life.
To read the RCM’s manifesto, click here.  

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