RCM launching Midwifery Continuity of Carer What if… ? series

By Lia Brigante, RCM Quality & Standards Advisor & Dr Mary Ross-Davie, RCM Director for Scotland on 15 October 2019 Midwifery Continuity of Carer - MCOC

Midwifery Continuity of Carer (MCoC) continues to be the buzz word in the midwifery world in the UK and beyond. In 2019 Wales has published a maternity strategy that encompass continuity across the pregnancy, birth and postnatal continuum, following Better Births (England, 2016) and Best Start (Scotland, 2017). The RCM has led multiple initiatives in the last years to support implementation of continuity of care while safeguarding midwives’ work life balance on the ground. We have consistently made the case for sustainable implementation and continue to lobby and support the process at national and local level.

There is a wealth of research knowledge showing how MCoC can make a difference for women and midwives but not necessarily on how to establish continuity teams and enable them to run well. One of the main areas of focus for RCM has been bridging that gap producing resources and useful tools to actively support the implementation. RCM has endorsed, together with ACM (Australian College of Midwives) the publication of the second edition of the book ‘Midwifery Continuity of Care’, a robust ‘how to’ guide for planning, implementing and sustaining midwifery models. We have set up a page on continuity on our website where you can find all the latest publications and links to i-Learn modules on the topic.

Running workshops across the UK has made us realise how midwives and maternity support workers tend to have very specific questions on the logistics and practical aspects of MCoC implementation, particularly around rotas, equipment, roles, etc. The RCM Continuity Counts game helps in understanding the workload of a team and individual midwives within the team for a year, how to plan and organise the work is then down to team members. Similarly, when it comes to evaluation, the RCM monitoring and evaluation framework “Measuring Continuity of Carer’ is a solid framework to refer to and can be adapted to routinely collected local data and audit system already in place locally.

There are some key aspects of the model and core principles that can help and guide continuity teams in sustainable planning as well as growing examples of successful models as MCoC is rolled out across the UK. We have decided to answer some of the questions by creating a new RCM publication series addressing the several arising “What ifs…?” on MCoC. The series draws not only from the knowledge of MCoC experts but also from tangible case studies of actual teams operating in the UK and internationally. The first publication of the series What if…my midwifery continuity team is organising how we work?” was launched at RCM conference last month, addressing good rostering practice and self-rostering (read more on the dedicated blog by the authors).

Other topics addressed by the MCoC What if Series in the next months are: role of maternity support workers, staff engagement, evidence, on call payments and managerial aspects. Stay tuned on the RCM website and follow RCM social media channels so you don’t miss the publications as they come along.

**If you would like to speak to your local RCM workplace representative about MCOC in your area, please call RCM Connect on 0300 303 0444 or go on to the RCM website, where you will need to re-register and provide us with up to date contact details when you submit a request for contact.**