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Paying to be a midwife

02 June 2018
Volume 26 · Issue 6


Midwifery shortages have long been in the news, but it appears that steps are finally being taken to address the issue. Kathryn Bond explains the new initiatives and how this could affect staffing

Recruitment and retention of midwives can be problematic and is continually under scrutiny in the media (BBC, 2018; Royal College of Midwives (RCM), 2018). In an attempt to address this, the Chief Nursing Officer for England, Jane Cummings, has recently announced a new campaign aimed at increasing the numbers of nurses and midwives. This is to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the NHS, where she also acknowledges the ‘extraordinary’ people who want to care for others (NHS England, 2018). It is necessary to ensure that both qualified midwives and student midwives remain in the profession for the long-term, so that succession planning can take place and a quality service can be provided by midwives with a wide variety of skills and experience.

Last year, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) reported that there were more nurses and midwives leaving the profession than joining the register (NMC, 2017). The main reasons given for leaving were Brexit, retirement, staffing levels and personal circumstances (NMC, 2018). Speaking to both newly qualified midwives and student midwives recently, several stated their intention to move and work abroad, while others were considering alternative career options. Some newly qualified midwives choose not to practise at the point of qualification and decided to return to the role at a later date, but there is a real risk that they could lose their passion for midwifery.

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