St David’s Day Conference: Back with a bang! Celebrating inclusivity in maternity.

By Stacey Keane - Assistant National Officer RCM Wales on 14 February 2024 RCM Member RCM RCM Wales NHS Wales Equality, diversity and inclusivity

Our St David’s Day conference is back in 2024 with an exhilarating line up. After last year’s theme of inspiring future midwives in Wales, this year we wanted to be even more inclusive, and discussed with our members what the theme should be, and we landed on inclusivity in maternity.

Our home for the day will be iconic Angel Hotel in the heart of the Welsh capital. Inclusivity is a theme which is close to our hearts and at the very core of midwifery. It’s a subject we know members are eager to grow their knowledge and understanding so they can better support each other and the women and families they care for.  

There are no right or wrong questions. We want those the event to encourage open dialogue, improve people’s knowledge and reduce the fear members sometimes feel about asking questions. Whether this is in relation to people that identify as transgender or supporting individuals from global majority, every person is equal and members tell us that they want to get this vital aspect of the care they provide right.

The conference will give midwives, MSWs and students in Wales the opportunity to hear from experts who cover issues specifically on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI). The day will focus on creating a safe space for those working in maternity services in Wales to reflect on the care they provide, their training, and what they can do to improve the pregnancy and birthing environment for everyone.

Our day begins with a cracking session. Gill Walton, CEO and General Secretary of the RCM, will open the conference, then as Chair for the morning, I will introduce the keynote speech on improving EDI awareness in the working environment from Chief Nursing Officer for Wales Sue Tranka.

Our next exciting session will delve into cultural awareness in maternity and will be hosted by Jamie Morris, EDI Lead Midwife for Welsh Government and Christiannah Ugbaja from the Birth Partner Project. Following this, you will be introduced to LGBTQ+ competency in perinatal services by the informative AJ Silver from the Queer Birth Club.

After a well-earned recess and time to peruse the stalls, we will return to be greeted by our afternoon Chair, Karen Jewell, Chief Midwifery Officer for Wales. She will introduce the neurodiversity panel session which will explore issues around neurodiversity in maternity services. It will be expertly facilitated by RCM Professional Advisor Ruby Handley-Stone.

Finally, we explore the use of Welsh language in maternity services with an interactive session with Catrin Roberts and Siwan Humphreys, midwifery lecturers from Bangor University. Perhaps this will be a chance to channel your inner Welsh.

It’s great that, for the second year running, the St David’s Day conference is oversubscribed. For those who didn’t manage to secure a place this year, don’t worry, planning for our 2025 outing will begin in earnest very soon. And of course, there’s still the RCM’s National Conference in May in Liverpool. Much as the virtual world has unlocked different opportunities to engage, you can’t beat face-to-face conferences for that buzz.