The Royal College of Midwifery has become the first major health union to issue a statement in response to today’s general election result.
Jon Skewes, director for policy, employment relations and communications at the RCM, reminded the Conservatives of their election pledge on maternal mental health and also the union’s long-term concerns about staff shortages.
In his last budget in March, chancellor George Osborne announced an additional £1.25bn to be spent on a “major expansion” of mental health services for children and mothers of new babies over the next five years.
The investment was subsequently mentioned in the party’s election manifesto as well.
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Mr Skewes said: “We will work with the new government to honour their manifesto pledge to improve mental health services for pregnant women – during and after the birth of their babies.
“However, delivering better services cannot be done without the right number of midwives, and we are concerned that the Conservative party has singularly failed to commit to providing more of them,” he warned.
“We are concerned that the Conservative party has singularly failed to commit to providing more midwives”
Mr Skewes restated the college’s belief that England is short of 3000 full-time midwives, which he said was having a “negative effect on the quality of services women receive”.
“I am also concerned about the level of savings the government will expect from the NHS and what the impact of this will be on the quality and safety of care for people using the service,” he added.
Unison, Unite and the Royal College of Nursing have so far not released official responses to the election outcome.
Earlier today it was announced that the Conservatives had won a second term in power with 326 seats, with a 12-seat advantage on their nearest rivals Labour. The outcome came despite pre-election polls suggesting a much closer contest.