Vote remain in EU referendum, urges Royal College of Midwives
Royal College of Midwives' chief executive Cathy Warwick says remain vote would mean better working conditions for midwives
Britain is ‘stronger, safer and better’ in the European Union, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has urged on the eve of the referendum.
RCM chief executive Cathy Warwick joined prime minister David Cameron to travel across England visiting health venues ahead of the crunch vote.
The RCM first announced it was backing the remain campaign in April, arguing that leaving the EU would leave the government with less money to spend on the NHS, risking fewer midwives and frontline staff, further pay freezes and a risk to staff pensions.
Better working conditions
Being part of the EU has led to better working conditions, the union said, including equal pay for women, minimum holiday entitlements, maternity rights and protection for those working part time.
Professor Warwick highlighted that 33,000 nurses and midwives from other EU countries are currently working in the NHS, adding that EU rules mean they must have training and skills equal to UK-trained staff to ensure high standards and good quality care.
‘It’s vital we remain in EU,’ Professor Warwick said. ‘I believe midwifery in the UK is stronger for it, I believe patient care is safer because of it and I believe working conditions are better as a result of it.
‘The definition of a midwife is also written into EU law, meaning the status of the profession is protected right across the continent. Minimum requirements for training are also written down at the European level, ensuring better training standards across Europe. All this helps protect not only the profession, but the standard of care women receive while pregnant.’
RCN fact sheets
The RCM joins Unison in urging its members to vote remain. The RCN took a neutral stance in the debate, but produced fact sheets for members on the impact of EU membership on the nursing profession.
‘Our council decided that we would give our members the facts, but allow them to make up their own minds,’ RCN general secretary Janet Davies told Nursing Standard earlier this month.