Country news: Northern Ireland

By Karen Murray on 05 March 2019 Midwives Magazine

Country news: Northern Ireland, from RCM director, Karen Murray

New journey: My first four months as Northern Ireland director have been busy, interesting and challenging – and I’m thoroughly enjoying it, especially meeting new people both at RCM headquarters and out and about in Northern Ireland. Here’s a round-up of my journey so far.

Pay: The pay talks in NI concluded in December 2018. The Department imposed the offer they made in November 2018 which was not accepted by the HSC trades unions. Our objective was to achieve a three-year pay deal and reform of Agenda for Change (AfC), in line with the other three countries. We will return to talks in the coming months to discuss pay for 2019-20 and 2020-21 along with the reform of AfC. The pay increase for 2018-19 will be paid and backdated to April 2018 at the end of February.

Perinatal Mental Health: A new report, Time for action, was launched November 2018 complied from research from NSPCC Northern Ireland, the RCM and the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association. It highlights gaps in both the identification of mental health illnesses and the response provided to women once they have disclosed problems or been detected in primary care. It has found increased strain is being placed on midwives and health visitors across NI, with the issue of perinatal mental health currently receiving insufficient attention from policy-makers.

Labour of Love: Celebrations for the centenary of The Midwives (Ireland) Act 1918 culminated in a gala ball held at Belfast City Hall. It was a fabulous evening, celebrating the work of current and retired midwives. The evening saw the launch of A labour of love, which tells the stories of women and midwives over the past hundred years. Copies are available for sale through [email protected].

Congratulations: I would like to congratulate Bid McKeown on being shortlisted for the RCM Leadership Award and Brenda McCabe for her success as NI Mums’ Midwife. The RCM Awards ceremony will be held on 5 March in London. Also, congratulations to Melissa Crockett who has been shortlisted for a Butterfly Award. The Butterfly Awards is an annual awards evening, centred around baby loss, which celebrates the work of champions working in the field of baby loss.

Events: The annual SANDS conference will be held on 13 June at the City Hotel Derry.