Royal College of Nursing Representing nurses and nursing, promoting excellence in practice, shaping health policies

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Our work

How we represent forum members

  • Representing the RCN at external events and meetings such as the International Confederation of Midwives and the Maternity Review of England.
  • Contributing to consultations such as the Home Office Mandatory Reporting of Female Genital Mutilation; Maternity Review of England and NICE consultations.
  • Contributing to RCN publications.
  • Attending RCN Congress.

Read our 2022 Midwifery Forum Charter


Professional Lead: Carmel Bagness

Follow the forum on Twitter   @RCNMidwives

Our strategy

  • Providing an effective committee. The committee is in regular contact via email and teleconference.
  • Ensuring the RCN and the Midwifery Forum members are kept up to date on progress with reports.
  • Maintaining a visible presence on the RCN website and blogging on issues relating to midwifery.
  • Horizon scanning for projects and initiatives that the Midwifery Forum can undertake or support in order to promote midwifery.

What we are currently working on


  • Pregnancy and disability. We have recently launched an online resource to support better care and a greater focus on the needs of women (and their families) who live with disabilities during their reproductive years.
  • Multiple birth midwife standards. In March 2021 we developed a nationally recognised set of standards to support best practice in multiple births care throughout pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Banner and poster. To develop a nationally recognised poster and banners for use by the RCN Midwifery Forum to showcase midwifery at the RCN.

Covid-19: supporting our members

Recent activity

Forum activity in 2020:

Read our annual report for a summary of forum activity in 2020.

Nurses in maternity care - published July 2019

Across the UK, the majority of maternity units are primarily staffed with midwives who deliver midwifery care to mother and babies. However increasingly complex needs of many pregnant women has led to an increased need of nursing care for many of these women. This has led to the employment of nurses in maternity unit settings. In some units, registered nurses are employed to provide nursing care to pregnant and postnatal women. This may be in the capacity of High Dependency care, post-operative care (post caesarean section) or elements of postnatal care.

Currently there are no publicly accessible national figures for the number of nurses employed in maternity care. A recommendation of the King's Fund report (2011) on staffing in maternity units was to increase the number of nurses working in maternity units. While this may be a useful way forward there is no way of ascertaining the level of nurses' knowledge about the very specific care and support needs of childbearing women. In addition to this, service staffing pressures and skill mix changes have led to rising numbers of health care assistants (HCAs) working in maternity care. There appears to be no robust data on the number of HCAs working in maternity services, or their training, education and development within their roles.

The forum believed that these sections of the health care workforce may be under represented in terms of recognition of specific needs they may have around training and continuing professional development and so undertook a scoping exercise to ascertain concerns around the current status of nurses and health care assistants working in maternity services, in particular access to service-specific education and training, and continuing professional development (CPD). The final report, results of the scoping exercise and literature review are now available.

Nurses in maternity care: RCN report

Maternity workforce survey report

Nursing in maternity care: literature review


Leading, collaborating, influencing

The RCN and its forums are invited to participate in many cross working and multidisciplinary workstreams. Below are a selection of some of the activities that members of the Midwifery Forum are involved in on your behalf.

  • Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA). A charity and coalition of 100 organisations working together with experts by experience and clinicians to achieve our shared vision and improve the lives of women and families in the UK affected by perinatal mental illness.

Page last updated - 18/05/2022