RCM demands independent inquiry into midwifery firm collapse

The college has been holding “emergency” talks with its 50 members who were formerly employed by One to One Midwives before it went into administration on 31 July.

“We regret the move to administration of One to One as a going concern and as an example of market failure”

RCM statement 

Despite being the recognised body to represent One to One staff, the RCM said it was only given two days’ notice that the company was going into liquidation and was not consulted on the matter.

The firm provided women with a single community midwife from pregnancy, birth to the postnatal period. It had a contract to deliver NHS services in the North West of England and in North East Essex until March 2020.

As previously reported by Nursing Times, in a public statement released at the end of last month, the company blamed its collapse on an “unsustainable financial structure” between the NHS and independent providers, which did not support a continuity of carer model.

Earlier this week, the RCM said in response that the unexpected closure had caused “anguish and uncertainty” for hundreds of women who had been left without a midwife with little to no warning.

The college said it had been left to “pick up the pieces”, including ensuring the employment rights of midwives and midwifery support workers were observed, and helping them find them new jobs in the NHS.

It has asked national body NHS England to commission an independent investigation to “learn lessons, to make the position transparent and to apportion responsibility, whether financial or professional”.

While the RCM said it did not know the full reasons behind the company going into administration, the union said the collapse showed the financial model for midwifery services was not viable.

“The RCM has long supported continuity of carer in maternity services alongside choice, as a means to deliver women centred care,” the college said in a statement.

“The RCM is working hard to support continuity of carer within the NHS and will continue to do so whilst ensuring sustainability. We regret the move to administration of One to One as a going concern and as an example of market failure.”

It added: “We have argued in many forums, not least with successive secretaries/ministers of state as well as with NHS England that the tariff for maternity services did not support either commercial companies or NHS provided services adequately.”

A re-procurement process has been launched to find a new provider to run the services previously delivered by One to One.

Meanwhile, women who were booked in with the company have been supported to transfer their care to a difference provider.

Administrators from Leonard Curtis Business Rescue & Recovery are understood to be winding up One to One Midwives.

NHS England has been approached by Nursing Times for a comment.