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I retired from the NHS in July 2016 and took my NHS pension at 55.  I had worked as a midwife for over 30 years.

At the RCM I enquired about retired membership as believe it is appropriate to continue to have access to help and assistance if there were issues with a birth or my care in the last few years of my professional life.

I was told that I was ELIGIBLE because I had paid in more than 15 years of paid membership fees. In fact, I have paid in for nearly 31yrs!  I was told I was INELIGIBLE because I am still doing paid work to supplement my NHS pension.

Annual Fee
Full membership £249.84
Associate Membership £164.64
Retired Membership £42.96

Source: rcm.org.uk

The RCM definition of a retired midwife is a midwife….

“.. who have previously held full membership for 15yrs or more and who have ceased to be actively employed due to retirement.

Surely this means actively employed as a “midwife”. This actually means according to the RCM  “any paid employment”!

Source: rcm.org.

 

I am not working any more, in any capacity, with regards to Midwifery. I am withdrawing from the Nursing and Midwifery Council Register in May 2017.

It is very disappointing that because I have to do other work to supplement my 30 yr NHS pension, the RCM are victimising me and asking me to pay for Associate Membership.  I restated to them that I am not working in the NHS or as a midwife in any capacity anymore. It seems that it is all about my ability to pay, rather than retirement from Midwifery.

I am sure I am not the only 55yr old taking early retirement who will be caught in this trap.  So, I am endeavouring to share this RCM rule debacle on social media to raise awareness.  It is my opinion and I am sure many of you will share with me that it is not appropriate to ask any midwife to pay more than the retirement membership once she has retired as a midwife.

 

I have contacted senior members of the RCM to alert them to this problem.  I will be directly contacting President Lesley Page.

I suspect this is an old rule and would apply if someone had retired after 60 and would be in receipt of their NHS pension and their state pension.  I won’t get my state pension till I am 67 because of the changes to national state pensions.

This old rule needs to be changed – please join my campaign.  Please share with your Midwifery Colleagues who are members of the RCM

If you retire as a Midwife you should be able to access Retired RCM Membership at the reduced fee.

Please sign petition at http://www.signand share. : Royal College of Midwives retirement 

https://www.signandshare.org/p/royal-college-of-midwives-retirement-membership-fee/

 

If anyone had said that I would be actively involved with social media for professional purposes a couple of years ago, I would have a laughed. As a fifty-odd year old midwife heading for early retirement, a part of me did not wish to get involved with all this ‘technology’ stuff.  But I am so pleased I have.

A couple of years ago I went on a study day about NHS informatics.  The title of which did not actually tell you what it was about. But I met Annie Cooper(@anniecoops) and Teresa Chin (@AgencyNurse) and Pam Nelmes (@pam007nelmes).  This started my world in Twitterville and has opened many horizons.

I now get involved with Twitterchats using the #WeMidwives forum.  I follow senior people in midwifery @LesleyPageRCM, the RCM, and NICE and NMC.  I hear about NHS initiatives, new policies direct to my phone/computer/tablet. I discuss topics with non-professionals, women, patient groups, I learn and I grow.

Today I was involved towards the end of a 24hr Transformathon event (#nhstform1400, @theedgeNHS).   I was online, hearing lots of speakers and watching presentations from their offices or homes. I was on my own sofa. I asked questions and I commented. It just felt great to be in a space where you can offer your opinion, be part of a movement. Hopefully the beginning of a change in how we discuss and plan care.

If you are feeling unheard in your own worklife I really would encourage you to get engaged to receive some support for your thoughts and ideas.

Being part of social media has enabled me to develop my own blog (helenyoungmidwife@wordpress.com) which I have sadly neglected recently, but today has inspired me to share again my knowledge and opinions.

If you are still out there and thinking you can’t or won’t or don’t think it is for you, I urge you to get on the social media, particularly professional midwifery tweeting, train or it will leave you behind.

 

As a Midwife in the Southwest UK,  I would encourage you to follow.

@WeMidwives                  @jennytheM                                     @MIDIRS

@nmcnews                        @sagefemmeB   Sheena Byrom     @CareQualityComm

@RCObsGyn                      @RUHstaff                                       @NHSEngland

@MidwivesRCM               @MaternityAction                            @UWEMidwifery

#MatExp