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Blog: #FutureNMC and #FutureMidwife

In her latest blog, our Chief Executive, Andrea Sutcliffe, talks about our #FutureMidwife and #FutureNMC campaigns. She also reflects on visits to Royal Bournemouth Hospital and attending the NMC's Midwifery Panel last week


Andrea-at-UNISONHopefully you have seen that we’ve started the development of the NMC Strategy for 2020-2025.  There’s a new page on our website and an invitation to the public, professionals and our partners to get involved in the #FutureNMC conversation by completing a short questionnaire. 

I was really grateful to UNISON for inviting me to give a keynote speech at their health conference in Bournemouth on Tuesday, which fortuitously coincided with the launch of #FutureNMC. It meant I had a pretty impressive (if a little daunting!) platform from which to make the announcement.

This first phase of the strategy will focus on gathering information, ideas and suggestions for the future – what will be happening in health and social care?  How will that impact on nurses, midwives and nursing associates?  What will it mean for the work of the NMC? All feeding in to the strategic themes we will share for formal consultation from July.


An important aspect of our strategy development is building on work we are already doing, not least our current consultation on the Future Midwife standards.  We are in the final month of consultation so there is still plenty of time for you to be involved – today for example, there will be a webinar and a Twitter chat.  Find out how to join in here.

The draft standards were co-produced with women and their families, midwives, students and our partners across the four countries in maternity services and education.  Understanding what matters to these groups is at the heart of the standards and is what drives my visits across the UK – I really want to find out what is happening at the point of care, what this means for the professionals on our register and the people they support.

Award winning midwives

Andrea-at-BournemouthAs I was already going to be in Bournemouth last week I wanted to get the most value out of my train ticket by visiting local services. I asked to visit the maternity services at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital as the team had won three different awards at the Royal College of Midwives ceremony last month.

What a great team! The Head of Midwifery, Carmen Cross is a fantastic leader – focused on doing the right thing for women, their babies and families and recognising the way to do that is by supporting and empowering her team. She has clearly made a lot of changes and I could see why they had been so successful.

The first award winner I met was Sera Bailey the Bereavement Midwife who explained how she supports women who have lost their babies, and their families, by providing person-centred care to meet their needs. It is clearly such important work, giving comfort, practical advice and support at one of the most difficult times in someone’s life. I thought Sera was a very special person and it is a testament to her that some of the women she has supported through their bereavement have asked her to be their midwife for a subsequent pregnancy. 

I met members of the team involved in the work that won the Partnership Award with Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group and two other NHS trusts. One example of their joint working that has improved care and support for local women was changing the midwifery discharge date from 14 days to 28 days after the baby’s birth. This has improved handover with health visitors, and has led to better discussions with women about concerns emerging at that stage, for example mental health issues.

And last, but not least, we talked about the Caring for You award – an initiative using ideas from the team to improve their support for staff. Some of them were very simple, paying attention to the details that matter and making sure staff knew what had happened to their suggestions. 

It was all very impressive and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit – I even got to have a baby cuddle as one of the midwives came in with her 8 month old son.

Midwifery Panel

Later in the week at the Midwifery Panel we asked members for their views on the factors we need to take into account as we shape the strategy.  We followed a speed dating formula – with three discussions for everyone to join, each led by a member of the group.  The Chief Executive of the RCM Gill Walton led the discussion from the perspective of student and registered midwives; Professor Gwendolen Bradshaw led on the education and training point of view; and Cath Broderick led the discussion focused on people using midwifery and maternity services. I was very grateful to Gill, Gwendolen and Cath for their invaluable help.

The question and format provoked a very engaged and lively discussion.  A theme, that I am sure we will return to throughout this year, was the need for the NMC to add greater value in supporting nurses and midwives to provide safer, better care but to balance this by not taking on the responsibilities of others, for example, employers. 

Have your say

So, only a week in but already my brain is fizzing with the ideas and suggestions people are making.  Please make sure you get involved too.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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