Royal College of Midwives Conference 2022 – Blog

Kate Jamieson, K2’s Lead Midwife has written a short blog about her time at the RCM conference 2022.

”This year, the Royal College of Midwives conference was held in Newport, Wales. It was fantastic to be able to all meet in person and did not disappoint. It had been a while since we had all met face to face and it was great to catch up. I think one of the main highlights for me was being able to meet and listen to many people who are all passionate about midwifery and women’s health.

I was there for both days and during that time, was able to find out about some exciting projects including using technology to improve care and outcomes. We learned about awesome technology that will bring risk assessment up to date and focused on the individual, namely The Tommy’s App. This has been developed in a joint collaboration between Tommy’s charity, RCM and RCOG and is currently in development, with a national rollout planned in 2024. The aim of the app is to:

  • More accurately assess a woman’s risk of preterm birth and placental dysfunction
  • Provide personalised care for each woman
  • Enable continuity of care information throughout pregnancy
  • Provide clinical decision support to healthcare professional

We also got an update on the ABC (Avoiding Brain injury in Childbirth). ABC is another example of the brilliant collaboration between the Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute in Cambridge. This is a programme that aims to support maternity services to improve clinical practice of two significant contributors to avoidable brain injury in childbirth:

  • detection and response to suspected intrapartum fetal deterioration
  • management of the obstetric emergency of impacted fetal head at caesarean section

The ABC programme has developed a standardised approach for the detection and response to fetal deterioration during labour. Maternity staff, women, birthing people and birth partners came together to co-design ABC by sharing their ideas, views, experience and expertise and gave feedback as tools and systems are developed. This work has established a new approach for improved identification, escalation and action on fetal deterioration.

I also heard about the results of the RCM Re:Birth project. The aim of the Re:Birth project was to find language around labour and birth that could be shared and understood both by those delivering maternity care and those receiving it – especially around the term ‘normal birth.’ The project was led by the Royal College of Midwives and a multidisciplinary, multisectoral stakeholder oversight group. The project used a range of qualitative and quantitative methods to gather views about the preferred descriptors for types of birth in the UK. You can find out more about the project here.

I also attended an update on the RCM’s Standing up for Higher Standards which is updated guidance around the fact that everyone has a responsibility to create the environment where issues and concerns can be raised without fear or favour. It gives members guidance on how to approach raising issues and concerns in the workplace and what the RCM will do to support. I will be looking at how to incorporate this in to our Perinatal Training Programme and other products.

There were many insightful presentations going on over the conference including problem solving, some fascinating case studies and addressing inequalities.

Unfortunately, it would have been impossible to see them all but the common theme was firmly set in supporting women, pregnant people and birth partners, as well as our fellow midwives and colleagues in the maternity services.

There are lots of great things happening in the world of midwifery at the moment and it was fantastic to be able to hear about them all first-hand at the conference. I am already looking forward to next year!”