RCM welcomes Scotland midwifery and nursing taskforce announcement

on 22 February 2023 Midwifery Midwives Midwifery Workforce Maternity Services NHS Government MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Pay and Agenda For Change Scotland RCM Scotland Scottish Government NHS Scotland Scottish Maternity Services

The RCM has called an announcement by the Scottish Government yesterday 'a very positive step forward for midwifery and maternity care in Scotland'. This follows the announcement of a Ministerial Taskforce on Nursing and Midwifery by Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social care, Humza Yousaf.

The aim of the taskforce – of which the RCM will be a key member – is to drive improvements in midwifery and maternity care and address issues including workforce shortages. The taskforce is not one of the non-pay elements of the latest Scottish Government offer around pay. However, discussions were driven by the fact that RCM members and their nursing colleagues were still in dispute with them with a mandate for industrial action.

In a letter to RCM Scotland Director Jaki Lambert, Humza Yousaf also commits to support the development of midwifery in areas including education, research, and leadership. The letter also recognises the need for more and genuinely flexible working in a profession that is predominantly women, along with ensuring that the ‘voice of midwifery is heard at board level’.

“This taskforce and the letter sent to me shows that we have been listened to by the Scottish Government. The concerns of the RCM and its members - outlined in an RCM member survey last year - have been heard and that genuine and real efforts to solve the issues facing midwives, MSWs, and maternity services are happening,” said RCM Director for Scotland, Jaki Lambert. “It demonstrates that the Scottish Government have taken on board the solutions to the growing crisis in maternity care outlined in our Five Year Plan. This really is a positive step forward for midwifery and maternity care and one that I welcome.”

Importantly the Scottish Government has also recognised that midwifery is a distinct and separate profession to nursing, and one needing tailored solutions to address the problems it faces. They commit to ensuring that midwives feel respected, supported, and confident to deliver evidence-based care for women. They also recognise the need for clear career pathways and progression within the profession.

“We have a seat right at the heart of the taskforce and the RCM will be working hard to drive this forward and make it happen for the benefit of our members, and the women, babies, and families they care for. I hope this is the start of major improvements that will have a concrete and positive impact on maternity services,” added Jaki Lambert.

Ending the letter, Humza Yousaf thanks the RCM for its important contribution to developing the taskforce and its remit. “I am wholeheartedly committed to ensuring that NHS Scotland is an exemplary, progressive and inclusive place in which to build a career as a midwife, and I look forward to us working together to constructively to realise this in partnership,” he said.

For more information on the taskforce visit Nursing and Midwifery Taskforce - gov.scot (www.gov.scot).

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