RCM Scotland - your voice matters

By Jaki Lambert, Director Scotland Midwives Scotland NHS Scotland RCM Scotland MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Student midwives

It’s nearly four weeks since I took up the post of the Director of the RCM in Scotland and I wanted to take the time to share some reflections from my first month. In many ways I feel that I have come full circle, long before becoming a midwife I was the president of the student union and there is a feeling of coming home. Coming into post has made me reflect on what is the RCM in Scotland in 2022, what is it to me and more importantly what is it to you?

To me the RCM has been a part of my career at every stage, both from a professional and an employment perspective. As a student, it was the RCM I wrote to for support when we were being told that we would not be employed as direct entry midwives, the response and support was invaluable. As an E grade midwife it was the RCM that supported my successful grading appeal. I spoke at think tanks and conferences throughout the years building relationships and networks along the way.

I have even through the RCM travelled to Angola and Nepal. As a senior researcher I was successful in gaining a fellowship under the collaboration between the RCM, the wellbeing of women fund and the Burdett foundation that enabled me to be principle investigator for a multisite study in South Africa. I would not have had the professional development or workforce support without the RCM. What is the RCM for you in Scotland and what do we need it to be moving forward?

RCM Scotland is not a building, a meeting or conference, its every one of you, with Team RCM Scotland listening, facilitating and advocating with and for you. RCM Scotland is built on relationships, on networking and on visibility therefore increasing ways to network across Scotland and across branches is a priority. No one in RCM Scotland should be isolated from the support or their peers or from having their voice hear.

Coming into a new post is a different experience to two years ago, the majority of meetings are on teams and relationships are being built, friendships made, challenges overcome from a computer. I am looking forward however to meeting as many midwives and maternity support worker (MSWs) across Scotland virtually when needs be but also face to face.

I have spent much of my first month reading the responses from the 871 midwives who took the time to respond to the RCM Scotland survey questions and to the words of  the 574 midwives that added narrative response. This has been sobering reading.

In the previous UK members survey only 1.1 per cent of the responses were from Scotland, by undertaking a Scotland specific survey ,over 39 per cent of members responded and even some none members. This tells me that surveys that are specific to Scotland and a voice that reflects Scotland are important to our members.

The results of the survey will be published mid-March and will be a benchmark of where midwives in Scotland have been after two years of the pandemic. This is a baseline from where we need to move forward and the RCM in Scotland, through our branches, will work with you to drive the changes that are needed to ensure midwives can give the high-quality care that they want to give within supportive cultures and with the right workforce.

In terms of moving forward, we are planning engagement to develop the five-year plan for RCM Scotland. This is your plan for how we reflect the objectives of the RCM within the Scottish context. Across the professional, union and business aspects what do we want to achieve to promote and support high quality safe care and to improve the working lives of midwives with processes and systems to ensure we are effective.

I look forward to working with you all!