The five things we want to see from the next Parliament

By Gill Walton, RCM Chief Executive on 07 November 2019

We all knew it was coming sooner or later, and now we finally know the date. On Thursday 12 December voters go to the polls to elect a new House of Commons, and with it a new Government.

That means new people who will sit on those green benches taking many of the decisions that will affect how the NHS works, the pay received by midwives and maternity support workers, as well as the lives of student midwives and midwifery education & research in our universities.

At the RCM we work year-round to influence the debate around the issues that affect our members, and that includes speaking with politicians, meeting with ministers and – at election time – trying to get parliamentary candidates to tell us where they stand on key issues.

So, at this election, like pretty much every other election, we are producing a manifesto – with some keys “asks” that we have for candidates. And we want to know where they stand.

And this is what we are asking from them. These are our five “asks”:

  • More financial support for our student midwives to help them make ends meet
  • A root and branch review of the resources that maternity services get, with a cast-iron guarantee of at least an extra 2,500 midwives by the end of the next Parliament
  • Championing of midwifery leadership
  • Giving the people the final say on Brexit
  • Improvement of maternal mental health services.

The manifesto is being designed right now and will be with candidates as soon as they are confirmed in the coming days and weeks. But I wanted to get these headlines to you as soon as we’d agreed them. They are the online equivalent of “hot off the press”.

Please raise these issues with candidates – if they call you on the telephone, knock on your door, or you attend an election hustings. Ask them what they will do to give better financial support to student midwives. Will they call for an extra 2,500 midwives? What will they do to give women who need mental health support during or after pregnancy the care they need?

And when you do ask them – be sure to say you’re a midwife or maternity support worker and that you’re a member of the Royal College of Midwives. This all helps our work at the national level.

And please feed back any information you get from them. We can follow it up. You can use [email protected] to get in touch.

And there’s another thing you can do, right now. If you need to register to vote then you can do it online at THIS link.

You don’t need to register for every election, just if – for example – you’ve moved recently. Students living away from home can register at their home and university addresses and choose at which they vote (although you must only vote in one or the other, not both). To vote by post, if you’re going to be away on polling day, use THIS link. And if you prefer you can nominate someone (a proxy) to cast your vote for you on the day. More details about proxy voting can be found HERE.

The RCM is strictly neutral in party politics and takes no side in an election like this. You should vote as you think best, but we would encourage you to vote – if you don’t, you leave it up to everyone else to decide for you.

And whatever the complexion of the government elected next month, whether it is single-party government, a minority government, a coalition – whatever – we will work with politicians and parties across the spectrum. And we will do that to get the best deal for you.