Tools for Change – Tactic and Strategy in Midwifery

By Ruth Weston

At a recent workshop on tactics and strategy for changing birth, we identified some super useful tools for change that I just had to share here!

1 Engage staff/people – learning together – message: ‘we are in this together’.

2. Going to / speaking to the person with the power.

3. Finding Champions for Change, these are individuals that others will respect and follow.

4.Believe in myself. Challenge the ‘impostor syndrome’ that we may have.

5. Being bold – having the cheek to ask for it. Doing it even though the outcome is unknown.

6. Dealing with rejection: don’t take it personally, try someone/somewhere else, be stubborn.

7. Make sure your rationale is clear. Make sure it means something to you and to the people you approach. E.G. What do you want? Why do you want it?

8. Finding people to join (you on) a statutory committee (lay members): Use Facebook and other social media, follow up contacts, remind them near the time, arrange to meet them to go in together. Mutual support works wonders!

9 JFDI – You have done the research, made your plans, worked out what resources you need. In the end you just have to Just F****** Do It!

I just want to add two quotes that I gathered from another international workshop. This first one is from young activists in Ireland:

“Take small steps both individually and collectively with unreasonable optimism to address the large and long term issues of poverty and exclusion which do not have to be inevitable.”

We can add in our own small and large issues there.

And from young activists in the Netherlands:

“There was a transformation in my thinking, not to be overwhelmed by all the worlds challenges and want to be able to solve them all, but to realise that focusing one’s energy into one specific area has the greatest impact.”


Edited by Emma Ashworth

What you can do to save midwifery as an independent profession in the UK.

By Ruth Weston and Emma Ashworth

Independent Midwives are in the NMC firing line, and most of the campaigning that you might see is about this. However, the NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council), which made this decision, did so without a practicing midwife on the board, and the ramifications of the decision affects every midwife in the UK.

For instance, the NMC have stated, “A registered midwife can only attend a woman during a birth if she has appropriate indemnity cover. The midwife cannot avoid this legal requirement by attending the birth in a ‘non-midwife’ capacity… The only exception to this is when a midwife attends a birth in a personal capacity to support a family member or close friend for whom they have not previously provided midwifery services”. “Services” includes emotional and physical support, meaning that midwives are being banned from attending the births of their grandchildren, or their own babies in the case of male or lesbian midwives if they’ve so much as listened in, or supported their partner through morning sickness.

The NMC is removing the midwifery committee, which advises the NMC on midwifery matters. Its replacement will have no budget and delegatory powers and it is unclear who will be on it and what its role will be within the NMC. As the NMC – the NURSING and Midwifery Council – has overwhelming numbers of nurses compared to midwives, and the way it is now being set up means midwives will be regulated by a completely different professional – one geared to nursing sick people rather than caring for healthy women -without their own voice being heard at all.

There is a huge risk that this will toll the death knell to midwifery as an independent and autonomous profession. It will become subsumed into the nursing profession as another branch of nursing. This is certainly the way the NMC and the Government legislation is treating midwifery at present and would mean Midwives would lose the status of being THE professional experts in the normal maternal pathway and key care provider. This is not inevitable but as a profession and as parents we must rise up and clearly and strongly oppose the removal of the midwifery code, the midwifery committee and lack of representation for mothers and midwives at the NMC. The profession has never been in more jeopardy, and never has the care of women and their babies been so much at risk since the formation of the profession of midwifery. It falls to us to do something about it..

What can I do?
1) There have been several petitions. The writer of this one admits that if it had been less rushed it would be better worded.  However, if we want Parliament to take note of the voices of women, midwives and their families, then this is a good petition to start the ball rolling.  Please do support it.

2) Share your story of how midwives have helped and supported you. What impact will the lack of access to IMs have on you? Share on:

Facebook, Save Independent Midwifery page:

Send to Birthplace Matters who is preparing stories and letters to the NMC through birthplacematters at

Send them to the website.

Don’t forget to include permission to share.

3) Tweet! Use the #savethemidwife hashtag with your messages about how this affects you. You can tag Jackie Smith of the NMC using @JackieSmith_nmc, and BBC Watchdog (@BBCWatchdog)

4) Write to your MP. The website has important template letters which answer the cut-and-paste responses that most MPs are sending. Find your MP here:

5) Join IMUK, the Independent Midwives’ professional body, as a supporting member. It only costs £20:

6) Make a complaint to the NMC. E-mail They have less than 20 working days to respond. It is important to mention that it’s a formal complaint to ensure you go straight to Stage 2 of their complaints process. If you don’t like the reply, simply respond. Say you’re not satisfied, say why, and then appeal the complaint response, escalating to Stage 3.

7) Many women and Midwives across the UK are using their passion, creativity and skills to support independent midwives and to challenge midwifery regulation to do its work better. Do what you can with the people you can, and watch this space as more developments are in the pipeline. Thank you!