The Midwives’ Haven

Support for members in times of trouble

We aim to offer support networks for members caught up in investigations, disciplinary processes, and NMC referrals. We are a small group who have personal experience of such events and we offer a listening ear and support and help as we are able, depending on distance and timeframe. ARM is committed to providing a good support network for midwives who need it, and to build solidarity to help defend midwives who come under attack.

Our objectives are to build knowledge and skills about disciplinary processes, NMC referral, bullying and harassment etc, build a resource repository of useful guidance and contacts, and to fund-raise to help with travel and legal expenses.

We feel that ARM midwives may be at risk of being investigated and subjected to “correctional” measures, given that radical midwives may be assumed to have issues with protocol-driven care and the ever-increasing impetus to process women rather than establish relationships with them. This can be seen as a problem within some NHS settings with the result that “resisters” may find themselves having to justify personalised, one-to-one, or requested or declined choices in care that lie outwith the mainstream set menu.

As well as one-to-one email or telephone support, we hope to:

  • Hold a support workshop at all national meetings
  • Run a “secret” Facebook page (invitation-only)
  • Lobby the RCM to provide better IR support
  • Try to establish common themes and root cause analysis of cases to identify, name and address destructive managerial approaches
  • Hold a repository of helpful documents/guidance on website for members to access
  • Report on (anonymised and with permission) concluded cases/tell the story in magazine so that awareness of the widespread nature of these experiences is spread
  • Hold a annual retreat for members going through investigation etc
  • Fundraise to support the group’s activities eg travel costs, legal advice

Often midwives feel alone or outcast or that they are the only one going through such times, but this is another thing that allows destructive managerial behaviours to continue. By coming together and speaking (and writing) more about these experiences, we hope that we can challenge the toxic cultures that destroy too many midwives’ well-being and careers.

You are not alone!

Information to help you

Bullying and Harassment Information

Bullying and Harassment at work

Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service
(Opens in PDF)

Aryanne Oade's blog

Aryanne is a psychologist and writer specialising in recovery and rebuilding after experiencing bullying. Her blog and books are full of practical help and guidance on dealing with bullying in the workplace. You can also sign up for helpful downloads (e.g. “Altering the bullying dynamic”, “Recovery from workplace bullying”) here: https://oadeassociates.com/downloads/. Two very helpful sites.

Resources when facing investigation, disciplinary action or being suspended from work

CAUSE (UK)

Campaign Against Unnecessary Suspensions & Exclusions in the NHS
A superb source of information

Labour Research Department

This website has a lot of information on employment relations law and is an up to date source of information. You can get free access to its online content which is fully contemporary by using the username and password rcmrep. Once on the LRD site click on Publications Online on the left hand side and then scroll down until you see the log in box. The LRD booklets may be particularly useful in some situations.

RCM i-learning

The RCM have a few i-learn modules aimed at workplace representatives (stewards) but accessible to all RCM members. This link is to the new stewards foundation course.

Other Resources

Humanising Healthcare

The website of the Humanising Healthcare movement, devoted to culture change, sharing and compassion, and finding better ways of working together in health care. Contains lots of information and resources and you can sign up for the newsletter.

Founded by Dr Robin Youngson, an anaesthetist and author of Time to Care, the movement welcomes all health workers to be part of the change to a kinder work culture in healthcare- “Within the dynamics of professional relationships, both individuals and institutions undergo cycles of change, which can be powerfully self-reinforcing. At this time of crisis in healthcare, many people and organizations are spiraling down into stress and disillusionment. But an equally powerful upwards spiral of compassion, caring, positivity and resilience is within easy reach. Which way of being will you choose?”

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