RCM members tell NHS Pay Review Body why they deserve a decent pay rise

By Gemma Murphy on 23 March 2021 NHS Pay Review Body Pay Pay and Agenda For Change RCM Midwives MSWs - Maternity Support Workers NHS NHS Staff

Today the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) led a delegation, including a midwife and a maternity support worker, to give evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) about how 10 years of pay restraint has impacted them and their maternity colleagues and laid out why RCM members deserve a decent pay rise.

Giving their evidence they highlighted the realties they face on the ground every day, the challenges of keeping services running safely when at times they are short of midwives. They also shared their feelings of hurt and distress at the Government’s proposed meagre 1% pay rise for all NHS staff earlier this month.

In January the RCM submitted its written evidence to the PRB which highlighted serious concerns among staff around the impact of shortages on safety, with 83% of members saying they don’t feel their maternity service has the right number of staff to operate safely. In addition, seven out of 10 members who responded said they were considering leaving the midwifery profession for good.

Giving evidence, Janet Ballintine, an NHS midwife, and RCM workplace rep, said:

“Midwives deliver every day of the year for women and their families and now we are asking the Government to deliver a decent deal for us. I have seen first-hand what not being able to attract more midwives into our profession means, it means more shortages and for those of left behind it means physical and mental burn out. This has pushed some of my colleagues to the edge. All we are asking for is a decade of lost pay to be made up in some significant way and recognition from the Government that shows we are valued.”

The RCM says, in real terms, the value of pay for a midwife earning the full rate of Band Six, which includes the majority of midwives working in the NHS, has decreased by over £7,000 since 2010.

Giving evidence on behalf of members, the RCM’s Executive Director of External Relations, Jon Skewes, said: “When we talk about a significant pay rise, we want something that will begin to address the losses suffered by our members. Midwives and MSWs working in the NHS are privileged to share some of the most significant moments in the lives of women and their families and are proud to do so. But that pride will not pay the bills. What maternity services up and down the UK need now is a decent pay rise to keep existing staff in the service and make sure that midwifery is seen as an attractive career option for the midwives of the future.”

Pointing out the economic benefits of giving not only midwives and MSWs but all NHS staff a pay rise, the RCM told the Pay Review Body that putting money in the pockets of over one million NHS workers in every part of the UK will help boost local economies which is just what the UK needs right now as it faces the economic impact of COVID-19.

Keelie Barrett, an NHS Maternity Support Worker who also gave evidence today, said: “The majority of MSWs are employed in Band Two which is now the lowest point in the Agenda for Change pay scale.  I know that some colleagues struggle with the cost of living and that’s upsetting. All we are asking is for the Government to recognise the vital support we give in caring for women and families and reflect this with a fair and decent pay rise for us and all our NHS colleagues.”