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NHS, midwives, women and politics

02 June 2015
Volume 23 · Issue 6

The news and social media have been ablaze with debate and comments since the new (non-coalition) Government has been elected, many suggesting it will lead to further privatisation of the NHS as well as other public services. Some have suggested staff will become demotivated, which may lead to more shortages of personnel directly affecting patient care. As we know, there is already a national shortage of midwives. This, together with changes to supervision and other challenges, might have adverse effects on staff and the services we can provide.

Things do not appear to have improved since Ball et al's (2003) study reviewing why midwives leave the profession. I recently supervised a return to midwifery ‘student’ who left around 15 years ago. Her reason for leaving then was a perceived lack of support and burn-out leading her to pursue a career outside of midwifery. On her return she still sees the tell-tale signs of midwives suffering from stress at work, noting the lack of breaks, increasing workloads and ever-changing roles. So without generating a political debate, what can we do as teams or individuals to ease the burden on maternity services and make the most of the valuable resources we do retain?

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