The Royal College of Midwives is backing remaining in the European Union which it says protects midwives and the public.
The college has a membership of 46,000 and is supporting staying in the European Union (EU) as it believes it has a “vital role to play in ensuring decent and safe working conditions, and ensures a vibrant economy that allows the Government to invest in the NHS.”
Voters go to the polls on Thursday 23 June to determine if the UK leaves or remains in the EU.
Royal College of Midwives (RCM) chief executive Cathy Warwick said: “We are laying out to our members why we think it is important that we remain in the EU. I believe midwifery is stronger for it, I believe patient care is safer because of it and I believe working conditions are better as a result of it.
“To me, the benefits of staying in and the risks of leaving are both crystal clear. Staying in is better for the NHS, it is better for women, and it is better for midwives.”
The decision was sanctioned by the RCM board, but it will not campaign on the issue.
The RCN argues that membership of the EU has led to better working conditions and will safeguard these. It cited equal pay fro women, a guarantee that pregnant women can get paid time off to go to their antenatal appointments, minimum holiday entitlements, maternity rights and protection for part-time workers.
It said these rights are worth protecting and EU membership will ensure that UK governments cannot remove them.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) also argued that EU membership helps maintain safety in the health service and high standards for healthcare professionals.
EU rules mean that the 33,000 nurses and midwives from other member states who work in the NHS must have training and skills which are equivalent to colleagues who trained in the UK.