The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has warned that measures to reduce pressure on maternity services are putting safety at risk. In a letter to Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Chief Midwifery Officer at NHS England, the RCM acknowledges the effectiveness of some measures to relieve pressure on staff and services, but expresses concern at others.
The following points have been taken from the letter. Please read the letter in its entirety for the full detail around each point.
Measures taken to alleviate pressure on maternity services that the RCM is supporting:
1. Ensuring all newly qualified midwives are employed.
2. Facilitating the introduction of newly qualified midwives into the workplace.
3. Supporting effective preceptorship.
4. Flexible working.
5. Utilising MSWs to the full extent of their capabilities.
6. Postponement or temporary suspension of Midwifery Continuity of Care schemes.
7. Moratorium on recruitment of senior midwives to national and regional NHS roles.
8. Pay and Conditions.
Measures taken to reduce pressures that the RCM cannot support:
1. Redeploying and employing nurses in midwifery roles.
2. Employing nurse (and other professional) managers/leaders to cover senior midwifery
3. Fast-tracking students into practice.
4. Withdrawing specialist roles/services.
5. Removal of the super-numerary labour ward coordinator.