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Championing our incredible midwifery workforce during COVID-19 this International Day of the Midwife

5 May 2020

Every year on 5 May, midwives have a day of recognition and celebration for our work through the International Day of the Midwife. Despite the challenges our system is facing now with Covid-19, it’s important for us to take this time to acknowledge the essential and highly-skilled care that midwives provide to mothers, their babies and families each and every day. After all, even amid a global pandemic babies continue to come into the world and unlike some other services, this can’t be postponed.


Alongside championing our existing midwives providing a critical service during these turbulent times, I wanted to recognise those who had left the register but returned to support the effort. Your contribution is very much valued. While on this subject, I’m pleased to flag HEE’s e-Learning for Healthcare’s learning path specifically for returning midwives as part of their COVID-19 e-learning programme.

And of course, where would we be without our midwives of the future? Health Education England’s (HEE) primary role right now is to support students to continue and/or complete their studies and remain on their education programmes. This includes helping to implement the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) emergency standards and helping link universities and practice learning partners. We are working collaboratively with colleagues at NHS England and NHS Improvement, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the Royal College of Midwives and the Council of Deans of Health. We have published national guidance for nursing and midwifery students outlining options during these times as well as other useful information, and supported development of specific guidance by the NHS Staff Council around the deployment of student midwives for employers.


We have been listening to and valuing the input pf the midwifery community in this time and adapting our ways of communicating so we can support our students in the best possible ways. Last Friday we published a midwifery-specific Covid-19 page on our website, which signposts to important resources for midwives. On the same day I was privileged to be joined by two wonderful student midwives, Alicia Burnett and Rachael Dewey, alongside Birte Harlev-Lam, Executive Director for Professional Leadership, RCM, Jacqui Williams Senior Midwifery Advisor at the NMC, and our Chief Midwifery Officer, Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent in a live webinar. We only had an hour to cover questions submitted by student midwives but will be sharing an FAQ as soon as possible. I think it’s fitting that we’ve been able to share the recording of the webinar today, on the International Day of the Midwife. We will continue to listen and adapt our ways of working according to what we hear.

I wanted to end by highlighting the pride I have in our profession right now, I have been a midwife for over 30 years and am honoured to be part of this incredible, passionate and committed community. Whether you’re a midwife in practice, a student, educator or returner, you’ve all got an important part to play in making sure that mothers, new-borns and their families have access to the best maternity care possible.


A huge thankyou to you all on this International Day of the Midwife!

Posted by Sally Ashton-May, National Team Senior Midwife

This Page was last updated on: 5 May 2020