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What we are doing in Quality and Standards at the RCM

Mandy Forrester, Head of Quality & Standards
23 October, 2017

What we are doing in Quality and Standards at the RCM

The Royal College of Midwives Door
You know when you’re getting ready to have your annual appraisal and you look back over the year and realise how much has happened and how much has changed?  Well, as my first year as RCM Head of Quality and Standards comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting on what a difference a year makes and wanted to share with you some of what we’re doing in RCM Quality and Standards – and some of the experiences I’ve had that have changed me!

Just before I started last year, the RCM had surveyed members on what they wanted from the College to support practice and they said that evidence-based midwifery guidance and standards was high on their list.

So, we’ve set up a new programme to produce quality guidance and standards on midwifery care and the first two topics – the first on infant skin care, and the other on care in labour – have been commissioned from senior academic midwives leading expert teams.

The guidance on infant skin care, cleaning and care of a healthy term baby’s skin, is being developed by a team at Manchester University led by Dr Alison Cooke building on work funded by RCM they did to review evidence on the topic (see http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPEROFILES/28054_PROTOCOL_20151009.pdf) and we are looking to publish this guidance for you in early 2018.  

Dr Pheobe Pallotti and Professor Helen Spiby and their team at Nottingham University recently began the RCM Midwifery care for women in labour in all settings in the UK Care in labour guidance project and we aim to publish this guidance towards the end of 2018.  You can find out more on the Nottingham University webpage on the project at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/research/groups/mhw/knowledge/rcm-midwifery-practice-guidance-for-care-of-women-in-labour-in-all-settings-in-the-uk.aspx

The RCM’s Consultant Midwives Forum came up with the brilliant idea of ‘branding’ RCM’s guidance products as ‘Blue Top’ Guidance as blue is the main colour in RCM’s logos. So, from 2018 expect Blue Top guidance to become as well recognised in maternity care as our RCOG colleagues’ 'Green Top’ guidance!

We are working in collaboration with MBRRACE-UK on a Perinatal Mortality Tool (PMRT) which will standardise perinatal mortality reviews across NHS maternity and neonatal units, enabling us to share learning from emerging themes for the benefit of future babies, parents and families. The great thing about the PMRT is that it has been developed with parents and will have a facility to a print a report for them which includes a meaningful, plain English explanation of why their baby died and whether, with different actions, the death of their baby might have been prevented. Look out for this, it will be piloted at the end of this year.

We are partners with the RCOG on the National Maternity and Perinatal Audit (NMPA), a large scale audit of the NHS maternity services across England, Scotland and Wales (see http://www.maternityaudit.org.uk/pages/home). The group published the first part of the audit, an organisational survey, in August this year and will launch the clinical data on November 9th.  We will use the outcome of the audit to guide us in what we need to do to support our members in practice.

We are also collaborating with the RCOG on the OASI care bundle, currently being piloted. See https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/audit-quality-improvement/oasi-care-bundle/oasi-background/

As part of NHS Improvement’s ATTAIN  programme (see https://improvement.nhs.uk/resources/preventing-avoidable-admissions-full-term-babies/) we are leading on work to define the role of the labour ward coordinator and set competencies for the role.  This work along with the work with NHSI focussing on huddles & handovers will make our labour wards safer places for women and for staff.

We are involved in other activities from the National Screening Committee to The Helath Foundation funded OASI project introducing a care bundle to reduce third and fourth degree perineal tears. This last is in partnership with the RCOG.

We recently said goodbye to our adviser Jane Munro – thank you to Jane for her huge contributions to midwifery standards and audit. This means we have new opportunities – would you like to be part of this exciting agenda? If so, watch this space…

2018 is looking exciting. Our new CEO, Gill Walton, joined us in September.  Gill’s focus for the RCM is safety, partnership and leadership. We’ve a great opportunity to shape our quality and standards programme – Our RCM – all of us – for quality and safety in midwifery, for women, for the future.

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