Caring for you, working for you, fighting for you

By Julia Drummond, RCM Organiser – West Midlands Midwives NHS Unions Trade Unions TUC Caring For You campaign

During HeartUnions week, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) highlights what it is to be a part of the only union and professional body run by midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) for midwives, MSWs and student midwives – through the work of its Caring for You campaign.

The RCM Caring for You campaign aims to support all members, by working locally with Trusts through our network of branches to hold employers to account on health and safety in your workplace.

RCM members face challenges every day in their working lives: chronic staff shortages, unrelenting workloads, extended shifts, missed break, bullying cultures and much more. These work-related issues can have serious consequences to overall mental and physical health as well as seriously impacting the quality and safety of care that members are able to provide.

This year the RCM plans to strengthen its message to Chief Executives and reinforce their legal obligations to safeguard the health and safety at work of all employees and to put appropriate measures in place to achieve this. The RCM is also refreshing its range of resources available to members, encouraging network of local branches to drive this forward at a local level.

Julia Ellis, RCM Regional Officer for the West Midlands said: “Now is the time for employers to take ownership with a clear commitment to improve workers conditions and make positive changes to the working lives of all employees. This is done by ensuring basic measures such as adequate rest breaks and hydration but also embracing flexible working patterns and supporting the challenges faced by an ageing workforce, as well as those faced by students and newly qualified staff.

“As we all know, when staff are depleted of goodwill, energy and enthusiasm - patient care will inevitably be affected. This is the stark truth. Staff who feel valued, appreciated, and cared for are better equipped to give more to women and their families. We need to change the culture and as we know the culture of an organisation starts at the top and permeates the layers beneath.  Only by working together can we hope to make a change. Together we can improve health and safety conditions this heart unions week and all throughout the year.”

Get involved in your RCM branch to help implement the Caring for You campaign in your workplace, encourage non-members to join to strengthen the collective voice and help change the culture. Find out more on Caring for You via the hub here.