A blank piece of paper

By Emily Ahmed on 16 February 2021 Maternity Safety Maternity Services Wellbeing Of Women

What is co-production? Equality, equity, a balance of power, the ability for communities to be involved in working together with professionals to achieve change. It’s an honest desire to value and combine the strengths, knowledge and opinions of people who use services and those who provide services. In an ideal world, it is starting with a blank piece of paper, enabling diverse groups to come together and work together on a collective vision. This is what we are hoping to do with the RCM Maternity Voices Network, to co-produce the network together and find ways that members of the network can work together to support and influence the RCM in all areas of its work.

For midwives and the women in their care, co-production is often second nature – after all, the literal translation of midwife is ‘with woman’.  When I was invited last year to chair the new Maternity Voices Network for the Royal College of Midwives, I was keen to build on this and to develop ways of working that could be applied in maternity services across the country.

We are starting from scratch… with a blank piece of paper. This means there is a lot of work to be done, some new roads and relationships to be forged. I’m sure there will be bumps along the way (all learning and change needs a few bumps) but the reason I was really excited to join and help this work develop is the real and honest desire of the Royal College of Midwives to want to include the voices of service users in their work, the ability for us to start with a blank piece of paper. This is an opportunity to bring creativity and a sense of fun to our new network and I’m really looking forward to getting everyone involved.

I invite you to come and help us create together. There are no rules, no hidden agenda, just a few initial ideas and a desire to invite people to join us in co-creating and co-producing a Maternity Voices Network for RCM. This is an exciting opportunity for all maternity service users to come together with midwives, MSWs, student midwives and members of the voluntary and community sector from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Over the next few months we will be facilitating a series of virtual co-production workshops to get the ideas flowing and to begin defining and building our network.

So if you are interested please join us at our inaugural meeting [insert details]. You can also join our mailing list and follow the RCM on social media to hear about upcoming events and opportunities to get involved.

If you have any initial ideas or questions please get in contact at [email protected].

Click here to book onto the Co-creating the Maternity Voices Network event