The Royal College of Midwives has today announced it is in favour of remaining in the European Union, ahead of the referendum in June.
The RCM’s declaration follows that made last week by Unison, which also said it wanted to remain in the EU.
“We are laying out to our members why we think it is important that we remain part of the EU”
It also comes after NHS finances dominated the early days of the official campaign this week, with the “leave” campaign arguing that more money might be available for the NHS if the UK left the EU.
The RCM said it believed the EU “protects and supports important safeguards” for the midwifery profession and patients, and has a “vital role to play in ensuring decent and safe working conditions”.
It also argued that being part of the EU had led to equal pay for women, a guarantee that pregnant women get paid time off to attend antenatal appointments, and minimum holiday entitlements.
In addition, it claimed remaining in the EU helped maintain safety and promote high standards among healthcare professionals.
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EU rules meant the 33,000 nurses and midwives from other European countries working in the NHS must have training and skills equal to UK trained staff, which helped ensure high standards and good quality care, according to the RCM.
Healthcare colleagues from across the EU also helped to fill the vacancies on NHS maternity units and wards, it noted.
Lastly, it claimed that “economic turbulence” would follow a UK exit from the EU that would “jeopardise” investment in the NHS and other public services.
Professor Cathy Warwick
Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the RCM, said: “We are laying out to our members why we think it is important that we remain part of the EU.
“I believe midwifery in the UK is stronger for it, I believe patient care is safer because of it and I believe working conditions are better as a result of it,” she said.
“To me, the benefits of staying in and the risks of leaving are both crystal clear. Staying in is better for the NHS, it is better for women, and it is better for midwives. We are better off in,” she added.
Heidi Alexander, Labour’s shadow health secretary, said: “The Royal College of Midwives joins a growing chorus of voices from across the NHS who are making the case for why people should vote to stay in on the 23 June.”