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'Caring for You' campaign supports quality maternity care as 'midwife burn-out' leads to safety fears

Article By: Melissa McAlees, News Editor

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has launched a new campaign ‘Caring for You’, to improve midwives’ and maternity support workers’ (MSW) health, safety and well-being at work, enabling them to provide high-quality maternity care for women and their families.

The campaign has been introduced as The RCM’s ‘Caring for You’ survey revealed that over 52 per cent of midwives and maternity support workers had seen an error, near miss or incident that could have ‘hurt’ service users in the last month.

Half of the respondents also strongly agreed with the statement ‘I am worried about making a mistake at work because I am exhausted’.

Suzanne Tyler, director for services to members at the RCM said: “When staff are overworked, under intense pressure and struggling to provide the best care, their physical and mental health suffers. This has a negative impact on their ability to work to the highest levels and standards of care and safety decline.

“This campaign is not just about caring for staff; it is also about enabling them to deliver the best possible care to women, babies and their families. Supportive and open workplaces benefit both staff and service users.

“Research shows that when staff well-being is supported, employee involvement increases, motivation and performance levels increase and outcomes for women improve. Investment in staff is an investment in care for women and their families.”

The RCM’s Caring for You survey was conducted with RCM members using Survey Monkey. There were 1,361 responses to questions about midwives’, maternity support workers’ and student midwives’ health, safety and well-being at work across the UK.

Findings have revealed a ‘worrying picture’ of midwives and MSWs facing staffing shortages, increasing demands and pressure to deliver safe, high-quality care with dwindling resources. Almost half of respondents said they felt stress every day or most days. The most common reasons for stress were workload (78 per cent); staff shortages (76 per cent) and not enough time to do their job (65 per cent).

A midwife in Scotland explained: “We are constantly telling our managers that the work load is unacceptable but they say there is nothing they can do about it. I constantly worry in case I have missed something important that could have a detrimental effect on patients.”

The survey also shows a significant proportion of staff are going without breaks, food and drink and working very long hours. Only a fifth of respondents said they take their entitled breaks most or all of the time, whilst over half of respondents reported they are dehydrated at work because they do not have time to drink.

The RCM is urging trusts to sign up to its ‘Caring for You Charter’ to improve the health and well-being of midwives’ and maternity support workers’, as well as women and their families.

Ms Tyler added: “This campaign is not just outlining the problems, it is also offering solutions. We are asking trusts to sign up to the Caring for You Charter and to work with the RCM and its health and safety representatives. Ultimately this will improve staff well-being, and help to deliver better and safer care.”

For more information on the campaign visit:


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