RCM CEO opens annual midwifery conference 2018

By Juliette Astrup on 04 October 2018 RCM Annual Conference RCM CEO

‘We are passionate about our jobs. We are kind to each other.’

These were the key message from RCM chief executive Gill Walton as she opened this year’s RCM conference with her trademark energy and passion.

Addressing delegates in Manchester this morning, her speech ‘a million dreams’ reflected on what she has learned during her first year in the role, and through The Big Conversation, the unique member engagement programme launched under her leadership.

She added: ‘What shines through is the passion for really getting it right for women and families – that’s what makes us get up in the mornings and deal with things that are difficult. Difficulties within the NHS, difficulties when things get tough – that’s what keeps us going.’

The second part of the session saw Gill in conversation with acclaimed broadcaster and journalist Susan Bookbinder, who exclusively announced the latest piece of RCM research, which shows midwives, MSWs, nurses and health care assistants are three times more likely to experience domestic violence than the average person in the UK.

Gill urged delegates to ‘read it and go back to your work place and do something about it – each and every one of you. We have to support each other - that’s really important.’

Gill spoke about the RCM’s year of the leader, commenting that ‘leadership at every level is integral to the role of the midwife and MSW’.

She also addressed the question of the recent pay deal, which she called ‘only a start,’ and the plans to train 3000 more midwives in England, adding: ‘The tap is on but the plug is out. We all need to think about how do we get that plug back in? How do we keep people in maternity services working as midwives? We can only do that together.’

Delegates seized the opportunity to put their questions to Gill, this year via an app. She spoke on bullying in the workplace, influencing national policy and student fees among other topics raised.

Finally, she urged midwives to go out and showcase what they love about their work, and the difference they’re making, to ‘tell someone how great it is to be a midwife’, before a montage of photos from Our RCM and ‘team RCM’ over the past 12 months brought her presentation to a close.