One month on: RCM sets out its next steps following the Kirkup report
When Dr Bill Kirkup’s report, Reading the signals - Maternity and neonatal services in East Kent, was published in October this year, it made for sobering reading for anyone involved in maternity care. What was clear was the systemic challenge to delivering safe care, something the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) raised in its initial response to the report and urged swifter progress to fix that challenge.
In the weeks since the report’s publication, the RCM has reflected upon and reviewed Dr Kirkup’s recommendations. The College is absolutely committed to continuing to support improvements in the quality and safety of care provision across maternity services and demonstrating the need to work across the professions to do so. Our joint initiatives with the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, including the Each Baby Counts programme, the Avoiding Brain Injury in Childbirth (ABC) project and the Tommy’s decision tool project, are testament to that commitment.
The RCM is committed to working with other professional bodies, regulators, and arm’s length bodies on the recommendations for improving maternity safety and culture. All those who support improvements to safety in maternity services need to be clear about what good looks like, sharing good practice and initiatives to support all those providing care and enable them to deliver the standard of care they are trained to deliver and aspire to.
The RCM will continue supporting members to maintain the standards of professional behaviour and provision of compassionate care as set out in for all registrants in the NMC Code. However, Government investment in services is key. Without funding and protected time in services to learn from incidents, review cultures and participate in the joint multidisciplinary training that we all acknowledge is key to providing safe services, there is less chance for improvements to be made at pace and for these to be sustainable.