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Jane Urben, our Divisional Chief Midwife for Ashford and St. Peter's Hospitals, recently signed the Royal College of Midwives' (RCM) 'Caring for You' charter, which is a commitment to improve the health, safety and wellbeing of her team of midwives, student midwives and maternity assistants at work.

The RCM 'Caring for You' campaign is highlighting the importance of a healthy working environment for midwives and other health professionals, with heads of midwifery across the country personally signing the pledge. Jane said: "We know that our maternity colleagues work incredibly hard, often under great pressure and it's really important to recognise the strain this can put on individuals - physically, mentally and emotionally. The health and wellbeing of my team is really important to me and it makes sense that healthy, happy midwives are able to provide better care for women and their babies."

The RCM charter looks at many different aspects of improving the working life of professionals; including access to a variety of shift patterns and flexible working and promoting a positive workplace culture around working time and taking breaks. Also, encouraing a zero tolerance policy on undermining and bullying behaviours, improving access to occupational health, and nurturing a compassionate and supportive workplace that cares for its staff.

Jane adds: "It is all these things in combination that can make somewhere a good place to work, or otherwise. Often, we can't take away the day-to-day pressures upon our service and in endeavouring to provide the best possible care for women and their babies, we lose focus on the wellbeing of our staff. We have a really great team at Ashford and St. Peter's and want to build on that, further developing a culture of mutual support. One where colleagues feel able to speak up if something is worrying them and ask for help if they need it.

"It's a privilege to take the lead in signing this charter and going forward, we want to work together and closely with the RCM to find practical ways of bringing these promises to life."


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If you live in one of our local authority wards, you can become a member by completing our online application form.