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Royal College of Midwives statement on the outcome of the referendum on membership of the EU

24 June, 2016

Royal College of Midwives statement on the outcome of the referendum on membership of the EU

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‘The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is digesting the implications of the result of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union.

‘The RCM is disappointed that the outcome of the referendum is a vote to leave the EU, although of course it respects the outcome of this democratic process.

‘During the referendum campaign, the RCM supported a vote to remain in the UK on the basis that this would be the best way to secure important maternity entitlements for pregnant women, legal protections for the midwifery profession, and employment rights for midwives and maternity support workers that were all benefits of EU membership.

‘The vote is likely to result in a period of considerable uncertainty for the UK. Whilst it will be some time before the full economic, political and social implications become clear, the impact that this will have on public finances and the funding of the NHS remains of concern to the RCM.

‘The RCM will redouble its efforts to safeguard its members’ employment rights, the status of the profession and women’s maternity entitlements and protections.

‘We will also be seeking assurances about the position and future of the many valued EU citizens who work in the NHS.’

In addition to the Royal College of Midwives’ (RCM) general statement on the result of the EU referendum, Breedagh Hughes, Director for Northern Ireland at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “This decision has major ramifications for Northern Ireland and its services.

“It could have implications for midwives who live in Ireland and work in Northern Ireland around issues such as visas and work permits. This could potentially affect large numbers of staff in the health service and beyond.

“This issue will need to be discussed as a matter of urgency so that those that may be affected have some information about their future work security. I hope that a solution to this issue can be found, otherwise I fear that our health service could lose whole swathes of staff.”


Gillian Smith, the RCM’s Director for Scotland, said: “This result clearly has additional implications for Scotland where the majority voted to remain in the EU.

“The next steps are decisions for the politicians in Scotland to make. The RCM would however emphasise the need to ensure that Scotland’s health services are adequately funded, and that workers rights and maternity rights are protected, whatever the future holds for Scotland.

“The RCM in Scotland will continue to work to ensure mothers, babies and their families receive the best possible care, and that midwives and maternity support workers have the working conditions and resources to provide safe and high quality care.”


Helen Rogers, Director for Wales at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “We will continue to work with the Welsh Government. We will be seeking assurances from them about funding for maternity services, about ensuring Wales has enough midwives to meet demand and about the position of the valued NHS staff members from other EU countries.”

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


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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