The CapitalMidwife programme has been officially launched in order to try and support over 6,000 midwives working across London, with the overall aim of retaining them in the capital.
The move follows the work of the existing CapitalNurse programme, a London-wide project that was set up in 2015 to boost the training, recruitment and retention of nurses.
The two programmes are jointly sponsored by Health Education England and NHS England.
Over 200 midwives and senior midwifery leaders from across London attended a launch event of CapitalMidwife.
To coincide with the launch, two tools – a skills passport and a preceptorship framework – have gone live with the aim of supporting midwives to “reach their full potential” during their careers.
Those behind the programme said the tools had been developed in response to the growing need to apply a “once for London” solution to the challenges currently being faced by London midwives.
“We need to support our midwives to ensure we retain them across the London midwifery workforce”
They highlighted that these challenges included issues relating to workplace culture and stress, such as staff shortages and increased workloads.
The CapitalMidwife programme has also conducted a London midwifery workforce survey, the results of which are expected to be revealed later this spring.
With over 900 respondents, the survey will help shape the programme’s future priorities for recruiting and retaining midwives across London, said its organisers.
Jessica Read, programme director for CapitalMidwife and NHS England regional maternity lead for London, said: “Here at CapitalMidwife, we want to support London midwives to the deliver the best possible care to women and their families.
“We have such a diverse population, which makes our work challenging but also extremely exciting,” said Ms Read.
She added: “We need to support our midwives to ensure we retain them across the London midwifery workforce.”
“With the launch of the CapitalMidwife programme, we will be able to support even more midwifery colleagues”
Chris Caldwell, programme director for CapitalNurse said: “We are delighted about the launch of CapitalMidwife, building on the success of the CapitalNurse programme.
“CapitalNurse has paved the way by supporting the recruitment and retention of nurses in the capital,” said Ms Caldwell.
“With the launch of the CapitalMidwife programme, we will be able to support even more midwifery colleagues across the capital to develop their careers and reach their full potential,” she added.
The skills passport has been developed by an expert panel, to ensure that midwives have the flexibility to work across London without having to undertake repetitive training whenever they begin working for a new trust.
The passport includes an up-to-date record of a midwife’s professional development – identifying where training has taken place and where additional reassessment or updates are required. It is easily accessible and simple to use, meaning midwives can take their passport wherever they go.
Meanwhile, the preceptorship framework has been designed to ensure all London midwives have the support and guidance at the pivotal moment at the start of their career.
Newly registered midwives will have access to a range of tools and support aimed at building on the skills they developed during their training.
“Importantly they will have an up to date record of their professional development with them”
The preceptorship will be a “useful guide” for the capital’s maternity services who are responsible for developing their own workforce, said those behind the initiative.
Speaking at the launch, Royal College of Midwives chief executive and general secretary Gill Walton said: “The skills passport developed by CapitalMidwife is much needed.”
“It will ensure midwives working in London can now work across a variety of trusts without undertaking additional training each time they move, but importantly they will have an up to date record of their professional development with them,” she said.
Carmel Bagness, the Royal College of Nursing’s professional lead for midwifery and women’s health, said: “Being a midwife is an incredible profession.
“Whether it be for newly registered midwifes or those already working in the NHS, tools and schemes, such as CapitalMidwife, that can help to retain midwives and enhance their careers has to be a good thing and it and it would be good to see this rolled out across the UK,” she said.