RCM to ask members how many extra hours they have worked

By Gemma Murphy on 05 March 2024 Midwives NHS England England NHS Government RCM Member RCM RCM Scotland RCM Wales RCM Branches RCM Northern Ireland Maternity Services MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Maternity Safety maternity care assistant NHS Wales NHS Staff NHS Scotland Midwifery Workforce

Are you working additional hours without being paid for them? If so, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) wants to know.

Last year RCM members told us that they had worked 100,000 extra unpaid hours in just one week to help keep NHS maternity services running safely.

This year the RCM will run another snap poll, which will ask midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) how many extra unpaid hours they’ve worked during the week of the 4–10 March.

With this in mind, the RCM is encouraging its members in England, Scotland and Wales to keep a record of how many additional hours they have worked over the course of this week.

The RCM has told the Government that services can no longer run on the goodwill of staff and used the results of last year’s poll to highlight the need for more midwives and to campaign to improve pay. The results of RCM member surveys and polls and the power of member evidence to lobby and campaign for change cannot be underestimated say the RCM

Commenting, the RCM’s Director of Employment Relations, Alice Sorby, said:

“We know so many of our members are working over their allocated hours without getting paid extra. This situation is not sustainable and starkly highlights the staffing shortages and challenges that are faced across UK maternity services. Moreover, our concern is for the physical and mental health of our members who are having to sustain excessive workloads and pressures.”

Last year thousands of RCM members took part in this same poll sharing what it was like during just one working week of the year. The RCM says it painted a deeply worrying picture of workplace conditions and the impact that not having enough staff can have on safety.

The RCM’s snap poll will launch on Monday 11 March and run for seven days until 18 March to enable as many midwives and MSWs as possible to take part.

Alice added:

“With time being a luxury RCM members don’t always have the snap poll will take no longer than three minutes for you complete. If you can this week keep a record of any extra hours you’ve worked and please do share them with us when we launch the poll next week.”

From next Monday the RCM will be sharing a link and QR code across all its social media channels to enable members in England, Scotland and Wales to take part in this snap poll.

RCM members in Northern Ireland will have their opportunity to take part in April as they are currently being consulted on a long-awaited pay offer by the RCM.