Health Secretary acknowledges tireless work of midwives and MSWs as RCM pushes for date to meet

on 22 December 2022 Midwifery Midwives Midwifery Workforce Maternity Services NHS Government MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Safety

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has finally received a response to their letter to Steve Barclay, Secretary of State for Health & Social Care, more than a week after asking him to meet to discuss the growing crisis in maternity services.

In the response, the Health Secretary wrote: “I would like to start by thanking all the dedicated midwives and maternity support staff that continue to work tirelessly to provide safe and personalised care for women and babies. I acknowledge the current workforce pressures in maternity services, and I would be happy to meet with you to discuss action to improve the working lives of midwives and other staff.

“I am keen to continue discussing these wider issues, which I am sure both agree are essential to midwives as well as the wider NHS. I am committed to working with you to ensure that midwives can carry on doing the vital job of delivering high-quality, safe and personalised care for women and babies across all maternity services in England.”

Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the RCM, has responded immediately to Mr Barclay and suggested that the College facilitates a meeting between him, midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs), so that he can fully understand the issues faced by maternity services.

She said: “If Mr Barclay is true to his word, he will be the first Health Secretary to meet with me since 2018. There have been four Secretaries of State since then – five if you include Mr Barclay’s previous stint – and not one of them has chosen to address the challenges faced by maternity services. I am an optimist at heart, and I truly hope that this Health Secretary will listen to those who know the system best – and know what it needs to make the rapid improvement we all want to see. Those are the midwives and MSWs who, as he acknowledges, work tirelessly to provide safe and personalised care for women and babies.

“As I said in my original letter to him, I am ready and willing to meet with him at any time. The only way we can stem the tide of midwives leaving the service and provide a level of care of which we can all be proud by working together.”