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Royal College of Midwives launches Manifesto for UK General Election - Better outcomes for women and EU midwives in UK in RCM manifesto

30 May, 2017

Royal College of Midwives launches Manifesto for UK General Election - Better outcomes for women and EU midwives in UK in RCM manifesto

Binary Data

Better outcomes for pregnant women tops the list of five ‘asks’ in the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Manifesto for the upcoming UK General Election, published today.

Ensuring better outcomes in pregnancy for women is a key call in the Manifesto. 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.

Midwife shortages are another key focus. The NHS in England is short of around 3,500 midwives. The number of NHS midwives in England rose by just 79 over the last year; that is less than half an extra midwife per maternity unit per year. The birthrate has recently risen 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 1,300 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.

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.  If midwives have the time to encourage women to breastfeed, for example, it will help the mother give the child the best nutritional start. It can help to prevent ill health and ultimately save the NHS money.

Finally, the issue of fair pay for NHS midwives and maternity support workers is a priority. If their pay had risen at the rate of inflation since 2010 midwives would today earn £6,000 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 Government should honour those recommendations.

The RCM will be sending all the election candidates a copy of its manifesto.

Chief Executive Officer of the Royal College of Midwives, Cathy Warwick said: ‘We are calling on the Government in power after the election to invest in the NHS, invest in maternity services and invest in midwives and maternity support workers. 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.

“We have also seen pay freezes and pay restraint that means our midwives and other NHS staff are significantly worse off, indeed have effectively had a £6000 pay cut.  Investing in staff is an investment in the NHS and an investment in patient care.”

To read the RCM’s manifesto visit https://www.rcm.org.uk/form/uk-election-2017.

To contact the RCM Press Office call 020 7312 3456, or email pressofficer@rcm.org.uk.

Ends

Notes to editors

The 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 website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.

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