Carry on improving

By Gill Adgie on 15 December 2017 Caring For You campaign

As the Caring for You campaign winds down, the RCM’s regional head – north, Gill Adgie, looks back at the successes of the campaign and the new challenges to come.

The RCM launched the Caring for You campaign in May 2016 with the aim of improving RCM members’ health, safety and wellbeing at work so they could provide high-quality maternity care to women and their families. As the campaign comes to an end, we have surveyed members again to see if the campaign has been effective, and we will have the results to share with you in the new year.

Of NHS organisations with maternity services across the UK, 73% have signed up to our charter, and RCM local representatives and HoMs in 122 NHS organisations have been working through action plans to improve specific areas of concern to support members’ health, safety and wellbeing. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all those representatives and HoMs for all their hard work in making this campaign a success.

Charter highs

There have been many highlights over the past 18 months: from our first charter sign up, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on 7 June 2016, to our latest, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust on 25 October this year. I have visited many units around the UK and seen first-hand the improvements being made for members. Some of the smallest things have the biggest impact on improving members’ health and wellbeing: from ensuring staff can get a break during their shifts, to sharing compliments and celebrating success that values the whole maternity team.

Our first RCM Caring for You award winner was North Bristol NHS Trust. It provides a unique, free staff wellbeing service, promoting positive work experiences through combined body/mind therapies. The objectives of the service are to improve absenteeism rates, as well as wellbeing and morale among staff, and provide a sense that the trust cares enough to offer this support to act as a safety net for those in need. 

Over 1000 members in more than 100 teams took part in the Caring for You Pedometer Challenge in April. The event was a huge success, and was followed on 5 May by International Day of the Midwife celebrations, when many units held Caring for You tea parties. 

Intense pressure

There is still plenty of work to do, and the RCM will ensure it carries on embedding Caring for You into our work in 2018. We recognise that now, more than ever, we need to continue to support your health and wellbeing in the workplace. We know that maternity units are still overworked and understaffed, and many midwives and MSWs are feeling under intense pressure to meet the demands of the service. RCM members have never felt so challenged in their ability to provide high-quality care to women and their families. We also recognise there will be fresh challenges in the coming months as we strive to meet the demands of maternity transformation. These changes may be hard to accomplish, but the RCM will continue to support you with your action plans that will help support flexible working, improve workplace cultures and look after the wellbeing of staff.

So please keep up the great work, deliver your action plans and continue to work through the challenges of the charter commitments. It’s not too late to get involved and of course you can sign the charter any time.

Caring for You: campaign highlights

  • 76% of NHS organisations with maternity services have signed up to the charter
  • RCM reps and HoMs in 125 NHS organisations are working through action plans

First signatory
Central Manchester University Hospitals  NHS Foundation Trust, June 2016

Latest signatory
Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, October 2017

Winner of first RCM Caring for You award
North Bristol NHS Trust 

700 miles
The distance the Stork Walkers from Airedale NHS Foundation Trust walked over the course of two weeks to win the 2017 Caring for You Pedometer Challenge