Priority issues from 0–19
Midwifery, health visiting and school nursing services play an essential role in ensuring the health and wellbeing of children from conception to adulthood, yet there are many issues affecting all, which urgently need to be addressed.
The UK nursing and midwifery workforce is ageing, and this is already having a considerable impact on services. In 2001, the largest midwifery age group in England was 35 to 39 years and in Northern Ireland 40 to 44 years; in 2012, this rose to 45 to 49 years and 50 to 54 years, respectively (Royal College of Midwives (RCM), 2014). According to the Royal College of Nursing's 2011 Labour Market Review, one in three UK-based nurses are aged 50 or older. This ageing population has been predicted as a major contributor to a reduction in the nursing workforce (Centre for Workforce Intelligence, 2011; RCN, 2011; 2013). One of the proposed solutions includes delaying retirement. This might be a short-term strategy, but if it is not backed up by appropriate training and recruitment drives, the benefits will be short-lived and the issue will only become worse down the line, when a larger wave of nurses and midwives retire.
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