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The NHS should not employ doulas, says RCM

30 October, 2017

The NHS should not employ doulas, says RCM

In a new position statement published today (30 October) the RCM says that doulas should be directly commissioned by women and not by the NHS.

In the statement, the RCM says that it supports a woman’s choice to use doulas, but it also stresses that doulas must not provide clinical care at any time. It goes on to say that doulas should never be used as substitutes for midwives or MSWs or to compensate for staffing shortages.

Doulas support a woman and her family during and after pregnancy. The support is tailored to the woman and may be emotional, physical, practical or social. 

The new statement comes as the RCM holds its annual conference in Manchester on 31 October and 1 November 2017.

The detention of pregnant immigrant women is also covered in an updated position statement Detention of pregnant women.
 
In the updated statement on pregnant women detained for immigration purposes the RCM repeats its call for an end to the practice. It says that the detention can be harmful to women and babies.  

The statement adds that all pregnant women, regardless of their immigration status, must receive maternity care in line with their needs, respecting their autonomy and their right to make choices about their care.

The RCM says that many of these women are ‘uniquely vulnerable’ and they and their babies may have serious healthcare needs. Many will have suffered traumatic experiences, been victims of sexual violence or human trafficking, and may have significant and complex physical health and psychological problems.
 
The recent legislative changes to detention, which limit it to 72 hours, are welcome. But, this does not eliminate the risks to women and babies from the practice. The RCM along with many other organisations supports an end to detention of pregnant women for good.
 
Read the positions statements on doulas and the detention of pregnant women here.
 
Access more information on the RCM conference here

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