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
  • Support the Facebook Group Say No to Bullying in Midwifery
  • 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.

The Midwives Haven Autumn Retreat

If you are feeling battered by the system (under investigation, being bullied, been sacked, referred to the NMC or similar), come and enjoy a weekend of peace and recuperation…..

Friday 16th November to Sunday 18th November

Simonburn, Northumberland

Cost: donation to cover [vegetarian] homecooked food
Bring your own bedding and towel
Pick-up offered from Hexham Rail Station or Ponteland Metro Station

Enjoy a weekend of gentle activities –
walks, art, guided relaxation etc offered but not compulsory!

More info

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.

For those in the NMC Fitness to Practice process

Keith Lomax - professional regulation law

Website of Keith Lomax, a solicitor specialising in professional regulation law and with experience of successfully helping nurses and midwives to appeal in the High Court against sanctions imposed by the NMC. His link to the use of hearsay in a midwifery case is particularly interesting. Keith used to work for the Nurses Defence Union but now works independently and he and his team are aware of the struggle registrants are under and will endeavour to keep costs down so you can make a choice about your legal representation.

survey on the impact of going through NMC FtP process

A survey on the impact of going through NMC FtP process by the campaigning group NMC Watch. Please complete if you are referred to NMC.

Data Protection Act

Advice in getting a copy of the information your employers or previous employers may hold about you. This is known as a subject access request and this right means that you can make a request under the Data Protection Act to any organisation processing your personal data. You can ask the organisation you think is holding, using or sharing the personal information you want, to supply you with copies of both paper and computer records and related information. The site gives template letters you can use. The information is often needed in preparing your case.

The Case Against the NMC Facebook Group

The closed Facebook Group The Case Against the NMC, which is the Facebook home of NMC Watch. Lots of good advice and support from others going through or survivors of the NMC FtP process.

For those dealing with NMC

Keep a diary of the entire process with dates, times and names – it may help in making a complaint to the Professional Standards Authority (they inspect the NMC and hold it to account), or in any appeal, as well as help you remember details when under stress. Complain about any deviation from the expected level of process to complaints@nmc-uk.org first but, if it is not addressed or inadequately addressed or repeated, complain to the PSA.

The PSA will look at the following complaints about NMC FtP processes:

  • data protection breaches
  • loss of documentation
  • cases taking longer than 15 months to conclude
  • poor communication from case presenters
  • changing of original allegations to “enhance” cases
  • non compliance of 6-weekly updates to registrants in case progression and breach of Standard 7 (supporting registrants)

E-mail David.martin@professionalstandards.co.uk. with specific examples

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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