Showing that partnership is the key to success, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) jointly hosted Their Royal Highnesses The Princess Royal and The Duchess of Cambridge for a visit of their new London headquarters today.
During their first joint official visit together, The Princess, Patron of the RCM, and The Duchess, Patron of the RCOG, heard more about the ways that the two organisations are working together to improve maternal health care, before jointly opening the new building which is also home to several women’s health organisations.
Welcomed on arrival by the RCM’s Chief Executive Gill Walton and RCOG President Dr Edward Morris, the Colleges used the visit to highlight their work to support and improve safety in UK maternity services. They also shared with Their Royal Highnesses key collaborations such as a project to reduce brain injuries at birth, as well as their global work in Bangladesh and their response to the Ukrainian crisis. In addition, The Princess and The Duchess met some of the winners of RCM awards for excellence in maternity care from Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.
During the visit Their Royal Highnesses joined a roundtable discussion on how to ensure the best possible maternity care for all women. Staff from the RCM and RCOG discussed the joint work that is happening to address continued inequalities and women with lived experience of maternity care bravely shared their experiences which is key to addressing the challenges.
The Royal visitors also spent time observing a demonstration of the newly developed Tommy’s App, a medical app which can be used by maternity staff to improve upon the current checklist method for antenatal risk assessment. A midwife demonstrated how this will work practically at antenatal appointments.
RCM and RCOG staff were also on hand to explain more about how their collaborative work on the Avoiding Brain Injury in Childbirth (ABC) programme is developing a nationally agreed approach for monitoring fetal wellbeing during labour.
Both the RCM and RCOG have waited over two years to officially open their new headquarters due to the pandemic. Becoming residents of the same building further cements the RCM and RCOG’s commitment to multi-disciplinary working and their shared vison to support and drive improvements in the safety and quality of UK maternity services.
Commenting RCM’s Chief Executive, Gill Walton said:
“It’s great to officially open our new headquarters. Having the RCM’s Patron, The Princess Royal, and The Duchess of Cambridge here to mark the occasion has made it even more special. The past few years have been particularly tough for maternity services, so it’s been great to showcase some of the excellent work that midwives and all maternity staff are doing across the country.
“I am also really proud of our joint working with the RCOG which is so key in improving safety and the way multi-disciplinary teams work together. It has been fantastic to be able to share all of that and more today that with our Patron and The Duchess of Cambridge who I know is also great supporter of midwives.”
The RCM and RCOG were the first Royal Colleges during COVID-19 to develop joint guidance for all maternity staff and pregnant women using maternity services, which was continually updated as the medical and scientific evidence changed. Together they also provided key advice nationally on the importance of pregnant women getting vaccinated to protect themselves and their unborn baby, and supported campaigns from both the NHS and the Department of Health and Social Care.
Commenting, RCOG President, Eddie Morris said;
“We are delighted to announce the much anticipated official opening of our new building by HRH The Princess Royal and our Patron The Duchess of Cambridge.
“These new headquarters mark an exciting chapter for us as they become home to a collection of women’s healthcare organisations that are dedicated to providing, and advocating for, women’s healthcare. It has been a long held ambition for the College that our new headquarters would foster collaboration across the sector and we are excited to see the opportunities working under one roof brings.
“Today has provided us with an opportunity to showcase the fantastic work we are doing jointly with RCM to improve maternity services and gynaecological care for women from all backgrounds across the world. Work that is crucial to supporting women throughout their life.”
Notes to Editors:
*Photographs from the visit will be made available via the Press Association shortly after its completion here: https://www.paimages.co.uk/
- Tommy's National Centre for Maternity Improvement
- Avoiding Brain Injury in Childbirth (ABC)
- RCM and RCOG joint COVID-19 guidance for maternity healthcare professionals (PDF)
- HRH The Princess Royal sends letter to midwives
- HRH The Duchess of Cambridge spoke to midwives and the President of the RCOG about the challenges and impact that COVID-19 is having on new and expectant mothers and their families
- In June 2021, The Duchess of Cambridge launched The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood.
About the RCM
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance, and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences, and online resources. For more information visit the RCM | A professional organisation and trade union dedicated to serving the whole midwifery team.
About the RCOG
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is a medical charity that champions the provision of women’s healthcare in the UK and beyond. It is dedicated to encouraging the study and advancing the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. It does this through postgraduate medical education and training and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the specialty and service provision. https://www.rcog.org.uk/