The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust has become one of the first maternity services in England to sign up to the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Caring for You charter.
The health and wellbeing charter is part of the RCM's latest health and wellbeing campaign, which aims to improve midwives' and maternity workers' health, safety and wellbeing at work so they are able to provide the highest quality maternity care for women and their families. Caring for You was devised as a direct response to the needs of overworked midwives, not only in England but across the whole of the UK.
The charter includes commitments to make sure that members of staff are taking adequate rest breaks as well as staying properly hydrated during their shifts. There is also a strong focus on fostering a positive working environment which includes a zero-tolerance approach to undermining and bullying behaviours amongst staff.
Commenting on the decision to sign up to the charter, Julia Chandler, RCM's regional officer for the south of England, said:
“A recent survey of RCM members from across the UK conducted by the RCM revealed that they were really feeling burnt out and overworked. We know that this is happening due to the increase in demands being placed on them at work. The shortage of midwives - particularly in England - means our members are working harder than ever before, and without adequate breaks. All this can have a significant effect on their health. The Caring for You campaign aims to tackle this by improving midwives' wellbeing at work. We are delighted that the Royal Devon and Exeter trust have become the first trust in the southwest of England to commit to the RCM's Caring for You charter.”
Zita Martinez, Head of Midwifery at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, added:
“We are really pleased to have signed up to the charter as it sends out a positive message about our commitment to the health and wellbeing of our midwifery workforce. If we look after our midwives and support workers well, then they will be able to provide the best care they can for our women and their families.”