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2 November, 2017

A new report published today by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) shows the number of midwives and nurses leaving the NMC register.

Responding to the report, The Royal College of Midwives (RCMs) Director for Policy, Employment Relations and Communications Jon Skewes said; “This latest report by the NMC is concerning. Despite showing that the number of midwives leaving the register remains static. What is worrying for the RCM is the slow pace at which midwives are in fact joining the NMC register.

1 November, 2017

The quality of maternity care for women can be improved through better continuity of carer says the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) launching an updated publication on continuity of midwifery care today.

1 November, 2017


The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has today officially launched Maternity Support Worker Month on day two of its Annual Conference in Manchester Central.

To coincide with MSW Month the RCM has released the results from its latest survey of Maternity Support Workers (MSWs) which has revealed the following;

  • MSWs as a whole feel undervalued by their pay and current banding (almost 50 percent (47.6%) of those surveyed are in band 3 earning less than £19,968 per year.


  • Over seventy percent (77%) of MSWs said they would like more training.


  • Almost sixty (59.57%) percent of MSWs surveyed said they would like to see their profession regulated.


  • MSWs are a loyal workforce with over forty percent (43%) working for their current organisation and employer for ten years or more.


  • While over 60 percent (60.9%) of respondents confirmed their title was a MSW there remains a wide variety of titles used such as Maternity Care Assistant (almost 22%) and Health Care Assistant (over 10%).
31 October, 2017

“The relationships we form in the workplace are the key to safety in our maternity services”, the comment came from The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) new Chief Executive Gill Walton in her opening address to delegates at RCM’s Annual Conference in Manchester Central.

The two day conference attended by midwives, maternity support workers (MSWs) and student midwives from across the UK will be for some RCM members the first opportunity they have had to meet the RCM’s new leader.

Revealing safety, partnership and leadership as her top three priorities, Gill Walton, RCM’s Chief Executive said; “The relationships that we form in the workplace are the key to safety. We must strengthen partnerships with other health professionals so that we can debate and discuss the future of safe maternity care, so that together we can give clear information to women and families.

“I have to mention midwifery and obstetric staffing issues. There are huge gaps in some services which contribute to real concerns. When things go wrong, often the underpinning issue is that of relationships. Healthy relationships at all levels – clinical, system, regional, national, across professions – need to be supported if we are to develop the ambition of multi-disciplinary working which underpins safe care. Where barriers exist we need to recognise that these are within professions as much as they are between professions.”

Highlighting current collaborative work on safety by the RCM with other royal colleges such as The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) Gill shared her plans with delegates.

 “I also want to focus on the RCM’s involvement in safety initiatives and in helping midwives and MSWs to practice in a safe way. The RCM has a particularly important role to play in ensuring that you have access to the evidence in a way that you can understand. You in turn need to help women to understand the evidence in a way that makes sense to them and enables them to make choices that are right for them. It is you, the midwife, who has the key role in ensuring that women are able to weigh up the benefits and risks related to their choices.”

27 October, 2017


NHS spending on midwifery agency, bank staff and overtime in the UK has reached over £97 million in 2016 says a report published today by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).

The RCM report details spending in maternity units in 98% of NHS organisations in the UK. It shows that 26 NHS organisations spent over £1 million on agency, bank or overtime on midwives in 2016. Twenty four of these are in England with one each in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Nine organisations spent over £2 million.

The findings come from a freedom of Information request (FOI)* investigating the costs of temporary staffing through agency, overtime and bank use and are published as the RCM starts its annual conference in Manchester.**

A total of just over £97 million was spent on midwifery agency, bank and overtime payments in 2016 throughout the UK. This is enough to pay for 2,731 full time and experienced midwives or 4,391 newly qualified midwives.

The FOI found that the average hourly spend for an agency midwife was £43.65. This is compared to a permanently employed midwife with ten years’ experience working full time in the NHS, for which the average hourly rate across the UK is around £18.30. The revelation comes as England struggles to maintain its maternity services with a shortage of 3500 full time midwives.

In the autumn 2015 the Government placed a cap on agency spending in NHS trusts in England. Maternity units in England spent £20,635,047.30 on agency midwives in 2016 which is down slightly from spending on agency midwives in 2015 which was £24,950,157. However, bank spending has leapt from £43,225,603 in 2015 to £58,646,085.50 in 2016 showing that the agency cap has not tackled the underlying problem and maternity units’ reliance on temporary staffing is still growing year-on-year.

The problems are also serious in other UK countries. In Northern Ireland NHS organisations spent £3.2 million on agency, bank and overtime in maternity in 2016. In Scotland NHS organisations spent £5.3 million on agency, bank and overtime in maternity in 2016. The NHS in Wales spent £1,286,234.82 on agency, bank and overtime in maternity in 2016.

The RCM believes that the current shortage of 3,500 midwives and seven years of pay restraint are the two most significant factors that are contributing to the rising spending on temporary staffing. The RCM has concerns the shortage of midwives could grow even further across the UK because of the introduction of tuition fees and removal of the bursary for student midwives this year; the continuing uncertainty around midwives from other EU countries right to remain following Brexit; and retention of existing midwives in an increasingly pressured service.

In 2016 the RCM conducted research*** of the reasons why midwives leave, or are considering leaving, midwifery and found that 80% of midwives said they would stay in midwifery if their pay increased.

30 October, 2017

Research on links between breastfeeding and the bonding benefits has been published today by the American Psychological Association. Commenting on the research, Clare Livingstone, Professional Policy Advisor at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “There are many ways for mothers and babies to bond.

27 October, 2017

The NHS should not employ doulas and they should be directly commissioned by women, says the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) in a new position statement on doulas published today.

The detention of immigrant pregnant women is also covered in an updated position statement, Detention of pregnant women. In it the RCM repeats its call for an end to the practice. The statements come as the RCM holds its annual conference in Manchester on 31st October and 1st November 2017.

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. In its doulas 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 maternity support workers or to compensate for staffing shortages.

20 October, 2017

A new study published today by ASH has shown the extent at which local services have had to cut their stop smoking budgets.

In 2016 budgets were cut in all local authority areas where smoking cessation was a low priority.

The study is based on online surveys of local tobacco control leads in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The surveys found an increasing number of authorities making cuts to stop smoking budgets, from 16% of services being cut in 2014, rising to 39 % in 2015 and 59% in 2016.

17 October, 2017

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Labour Ward Leaders programme ‘working together for safer care’ has been shortlistedfor a Health Service Journal (HSJ) award.

The RCM’s education team who developed the pilot programme have been nominated in the category for ‘Improving Outcomes through Learning and Development’.

The Labour Ward Leaders Programme was developed following work initiated by the asphyxia working group of ATAIN (avoiding term admission into neonatal units).

The programme itself was designed and delivered collaboratively by the RCM, The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the patient safety team at NHS Improvement with funding from Health Education England (HEE) and ATAIN.

The labour leaders programme is delivered as a one-day interactive workshop and is aimed at multidisciplinary maternity teams. Initially a pilot programme with four programmes was made available to labour ward teams from September to December 2016. Eight teams with equal representation of midwives and doctors (primarily obstetricians) attended each workshop. This totalled 32 Trusts and 245 labour ward leaders.

16 October, 2017

Today (Tuesday 16th October) in Wales, The Children’s, Young People and Education Committee have published their latest report ‘Perinatal Mental Health in Wales’.

The report contains 27 recommendations and the authors have also highlighted the need for the Welsh Government to undertake a public awareness campaign to improve understanding of perinatal mental health conditions and their symptoms across Wales.

They have also called on the Welsh Government to work with the relevant professional bodies to ensure that perinatal mental health becomes a core part of the training and continuous professional development of all healthcare professionals likely to come into contact with pre- and post- natal women.

Responding to the report, Helen Rogers the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Director for Wales said; “The RCM very much welcomes this report and is pleased that the RCM’s professional views and recommendations have been incorporated into these crucial recommendations.

16 October, 2017

New analysis by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has revealed that midwives will be thousands of pounds worse off a year by 2022 despite the Government scrapping the public sector pay cap.

The TUC says the findings are proof that the ‘living standards squeeze’ will continue for midwives and all other  public sector workers.

The findings released today coincide with a major TUC rally against the pay cap which will be attended by members of the Royal College Midwives (RCM) among other NHS trade unions and various other unions representing public sectors workers.

RCM’s Chief Executive Gill Walton will join the TUC’s General Secretary Frances O’ Grady and other trade unions leaders who will address attendees at the rally in Parliament Square, London.

16 October, 2017

Today the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published statistics on births, including home births and stillbirth rates. Commenting on the statistics, Louise Silverton, Director for Midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “The drop in home births is a concern and we need to know why this is happening.

13 October, 2017

A pregnant mother sleeping on her back during late pregnancy may cause problems for the fetus, according to new research published in The Journal of Physiology. This is the first study to monitor unborn babies overnight and at the same time record the mother’s position during sleep.

The sleep position of women in late pregnancy has been shown to be related to an increased risk of late stillbirth (after 28 weeks gestation).

Researchers at the University of Auckland investigated sleep position of pregnant women by setting up an infrared video camera to record their position as they slept. They also continuous recorded the heart rate of the women and fetus overnight using an ECG device.

10 October, 2017

Jeremy Hunt has confirmed the NHS pay cap has been “scrapped”, but has yet to reveal whether or not midwives and other NHS staff will get pay awards to match rising inflation.

9 October, 2017

Today the Welsh Government has published the findings of the ‘Your Birth We Care’ survey. The survey aimed to evaluate women’s views of antenatal services and how current service provisions can prepare women for labour, birth and parenting. It will also help develop a shared vision for the future of midwifery led services based on the findings.