Country news: Northern Ireland
Hello: This is my first country news since taking up the role of RCM director for Northern Ireland.
I am really looking forward to meeting many of you over the next few months and to be involved in the important work that is going on to ensure that women and babies in Northern Ireland receive the best maternity care possible. In order to achieve this, I am fully aware that there are a number of pressing issues that require active engagement of the RCM, and I can assure you that I am prepared to engage in these on your behalf.
It is also important to acknowledge that this is ‘Your RCM’ and I would encourage you to consider how you can become more active on issues that are important to you.
I also wish to highlight the tremendous work and contribution made by my predecessor Breedagh Hughes. I hope she enjoys her well-earned retirement and I am sure that she will not be a stranger.
Pay: As you know, there have been pay deals confirmed in England, Scotland and Wales. We are working very hard to ensure that our members will benefit from an improvement in pay just like your colleagues in the rest of the UK. To this end, we are considering all our options while continuing to engage with the Department of Health and employers to secure a refresh of Agenda for Change and the pay benefits that should be associated with this.
Student numbers: We have had the opportunity to welcome a new intake of student midwives at Queen’s University Belfast. Numbers have increased significantly with some 60 students starting the three-year programme and 30 students beginning the short programme. This is a welcome increase and we will continue to press to sustain these numbers.
Events: I recently attended a RCM branch meeting in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust (above). I hope to have further opportunities to engage with RCM branches in each of the trusts, so please stop me for a chat.
We will be rounding off the centenary celebrations with a gala dinner in Belfast City Hall on 30 November. Bookings can be made via Anne Marie at [email protected]
The second All Ireland Student Midwives Conference will be held in Belfast on 8 December and will also be celebrating the centenary of The Midwives (Ireland) Act 1918.