Infant Journal
for neonatal and paediatric healthcare professionals

RCM issues guide with practical solutions to improve maternity safety

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is urging politicians and the incoming Government to tackle maternity safety head-on in its pre-election How to Fix and Improve Maternity Safety guide.

The RCM wants incoming policy-makers to ensure senior midwives have direct access to NHS executive boards to share and interpret data and support staff to raise concerns without fear of retribution. It says that improving maternity safety across the UK will not only restore women’s and wider public trust in maternity services, but would also save the NHS millions of pounds in compensation payments which could instead be invested in improving services further.

RCM Chief Executive Gill Walton said: “Improving the safety of our maternity services must be a priority for the next government. Every woman and family that walks through the doors of any maternity service, anywhere in the country, should feel confident that they will receive the best care and support possible. That is what midwives and maternity support workers want too, every day, despite the challenges. They continue to work determinedly, against a backdrop of understaffing and underinvestment to deliver the best care they can. Far too many reviews into failing maternity services cite the same issues repeatedly, such as not enough protected time for training, too few staff, and too little time to spend with women to pick up on concerns. All this while working in buildings with facilities and equipment that are not compliant with national standards or fit for purpose. We’ve recently seen reports of crucial resuscitation equipment that can’t be stored in rooms as there wasn’t enough space. How can this be the state of some UK’s maternity services in 2024?”

The toll of staffing shortages was laid bare in the results of an RCM member survey that revealed during just one week earlier this year midwives and maternity support workers worked 145,000 hours overtime to keep services running safely.

Read How to Fix and Improve Maternity Safety

The RCM wants policy-makers to ensure senior midwives have direct access to NHS executive boards.