Country news: Northern Ireland
News and updates from RCM Northern Ireland by director Breedagh Hughes (Midwives Summer 2018).
The centenary celebrations continue apace with our launch in Parliament Buildings being followed by a series of civic receptions in Lisburn, Newry, Enniskillen, Armagh and Antrim where midwives (working and retired) were treated to either morning coffee or lunch by their local council in recognition of their service to their communities.
We also held a fabulous (and hilarious) storytelling event in Glenariff, which was organised by Bid McKeown. We have now accumulated a sizeable travelling exhibition, so the midwives who attended were able to pore over old textbooks, birth registers and the many rulebooks relating to midwives’ practice and conduct. We also had old uniforms, badges and a range of items from the bags carried by community midwives in bygone days.
Celebrations will continue with two ecumenical services on 8 June in St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast and on 21 June in St Eugene’s Cathedral in Derry.
We will also be holding the joint RCM/SANDS conference on 21 June in Derry City Hotel, and the joint RCM/INMO conference will be held in Dublin on 18 October before rounding off the year with a gala dinner in Belfast City Hall on 30 November. We will continue to collect stories from midwives and mothers throughout the year for inclusion in a book that will be launched at the gala dinner, so keep sending us your stories (as well as those from your mums and your grandmothers). Your stories can be sent to Anne Marie at [email protected].
Discussions have taken place with the Northern Ireland (NI) Department of Health regarding the serious shortage of midwives in NI. An announcement is expected imminently confirming a substantial increase in the number of both direct entry and short course training places in September 2018. We also hope for an increase in the number of MSWs.
As pay negotiations continue in England we are seeking views from our members throughout the UK as to whether they would accept the same pay offer if it were to be made to them. There has been no pay offer made in NI due to the ongoing absence of a government, however health and social care trade unions will continue to campaign for pay parity between healthcare staff in NI and those employed elsewhere in the UK.