Editorial: Beyond 100 days

By Gill Walton on 07 March 2018 Midwives Magazine RCM CEO RCM Member

A progress report on my first three months as chief executive.

I have now completed my first 100 days as CEO of the RCM: it has been an amazing time. I set out to engage with as many people as possible, to listen to them and gain an understanding of the world of maternity care. There was still much to learn, even after my 30 years as a midwife.

I met midwives and MSWs from all four UK countries – in practice, education and management – as well as policy-makers and government ministers. I also met with representatives of other royal colleges, charities and organisations that represent parents and babies. I have talked with the entire RCM team, the board and many RCM local activists – who, I have realised, are the backbone of the RCM – and the Princess Royal, our patron.

What I have discovered is that this is a period of unprecedented focus on maternity services, a time of change and transformation. I worry about the negative attention and the work pressures in some services; however, so many innovative and exciting things are happening that are definitely worthy of sharing and celebration.

On the subject of celebration, the RCM awards take place on 6 March. We are all looking forward to that amazing event, where we will have the opportunity to hear from the finalists and celebrate their work making things better for the women, babies and families in our care.

‘OUR RCM’, which is the entire RCM membership and staff, is a strong and vibrant organisation; however, professional support varies at branch level. The Caring for You campaign has strengthened local support, but I believe we can still do more. For that reason, I am launching ‘The Big Conversation’, so that every single member has the opportunity to tell me their ideas of strengthening support for each other locally and what help you need from team RCM to do that. The aim is to remain passionate, focused and resilient in order to deliver safer care. Together, let us make the next five years the best we have ever had! (For more on this, click here.)

Finally, naming safety, partnership and leadership as my top three priorities gave me a framework for exploration in my first 100 days, and these key areas will continue to give me focus over the coming days and months. It is helpful for everyone to concentrate on care and services that are safe for women and babies, where they meet with compassionate care, can make choices, are involved in decisions and have the best experience. Midwives and MSWs need to work in safe services and teams, in partnership with everyone who provides care along the maternity pathway.

I am so excited about The Big Conversation – what I hear from you will draw the ‘OUR RCM’ map for the future. Let’s make that future exciting!