New maternity strategy for Northern Ireland is needed, says RCM

on 11 May 2021

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is calling for a new maternity strategy to be established in Northern Ireland after the previous strategy ended three years ago.

The union has launched a new publications Delivering better maternity care: The case for a new maternity strategy for Northern Ireland’ outlining the crucial need for a new strategy such as a review of services, seeking analysis of workforce issues and investment for implementation.

Commenting on the strategy, RCM’s Director for Northern Ireland Karen Murray said: “It’s been over a decade since the Department of Health published the most recent maternity strategy and that expired three years ago that is why we are calling for this work to get underway. It’s vital that we get the delivery of maternity services right and we have enough midwives trained to meet the growing demand placed on services.”

According to the ‘Monthly Births, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency’ report over 20,000 babies are born in the country every year. Midwives play and integral part in improving population health by supporting women and their babies to get the best start in life.

“By supporting women to achieve optimum health in pregnancy, midwives help to reduce future morbidity, mortality and health inequalities for women, children, and families. The vital importance of that work underlines why we cannot just let maternity services drift along on a course first set down a decade ago,” Karen Murray adds.

RCM has also cited workforce issues as a major factor for change with over 70% of midwives in Northern Ireland working part-time.