Royal College of Midwives calls for Scotland’s IT systems to be made more “neurodiverse friendly”

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) in Scotland has called for Scotland’s NHS IT systems to be made neurodiverse friendly, noting a significant increase in the use of electronic systems whilst acknowledging that “not all systems, computer screens and software currently being used by midwives have been designed to consider or accommodate neurodivergent employees”.

Based on the prevalence of neurodivergence in Scotland’s general population (around one in ten), the RCM estimates that NHS Scotland is home to around 18,723 neurodivergent employees and states that it is “imperative” for NHS Scotland’s workplaces to be inclusive for all midwives and other maternity staff.

Meggan Reid, an RCM learning rep from NHS Highland, called on the system to “implement neurodiverse-friendly electronic platforms for NHS staff and service users”, as well as to help raise awareness of neurodiversity in workplaces and workplace policy.

With these concerns in mind, the RCM is developing a neurodivergence acceptance tool kit, which will be launched at the RCM’s annual conference in May of 2024.

Emma Currer, RCM’s national officer for Scotland, said: “Making IT platforms more neurodiverse friendly is something that matters to our members. We’ve really seen an increase in requests from our members in Scotland looking for support and advice with neurodiverse challenges in their workplaces. Undoubtedly, the shift to digital record keeping over the past number of years is something that is to be commended and we know that particularly in maternity services as women journey through their pregnancy digital record keeping is vital to delivering improved continuity of care.”

In other news from midwifery, NHS England has published new guidance titled, “Towards a unified vision of nursing and midwifery documentation”, which “sets the direction for all nursing documentation across hospitals, community and nursing homes”.

Also from midwifery, at a recent webinar for HTN Now, we welcomed Misbah Mahmood, deputy chief midwifery information officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Misbah shared with us her insight and experience on the role of the digital midwife and the implementation of an end-to-end maternity EPR in Leeds.