Workplace Report January 2021

Health & safety news

Midwives facing abuse following necessary rule changes

Seven out of 10 midwives have experienced abuse from pregnant women, their partners and families as a result of changes to attendance rules during the pandemic, according to a new survey by their union, the RCM.

Changes to reduce the risks of Covid-19 infection coming into maternity units have been introduced in most maternity services to protect women, their babies and staff. But the union says that, in some cases, even the most basic compliance, like partners wearing a mask, has led to confrontation and abuse.

“We understand how upsetting it can be not to have your partner or support person with you for appointments, but there is no excuse for abusing midwives and their colleagues,” said RCM professional leadership executive director Birte Harlev-Lam.

She continued: “Every midwife wants the women in their care to have the best possible birth experience – but they also want that experience to be safe. That’s partly about reducing pregnant women’s exposure to the virus. It’s also about reducing the risk to staff, particularly when we already know that many services are experiencing staff shortages because of Covid, with eight out of 10 midwives saying they do not have enough staff to operate a safe service.”