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NHS Midwife Shortage Concerns As a Third Near Retirement

By Midwife, Clinical Negligence

Fears of a midwife shortage due to many heading towards retirement age have been raised in a report from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).

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The RCM’s State of Maternity Services report has called for the industry to be “future proofed” with more training places. Approximately 35 per cent of midwives currently working in the NHS are now in their 50s and 60s.

The report also highlighted the change in age profile for mothers. More babies are being born to women in their 30s and 40s and these rising demands are sure to see burdened maternity wards struggle to cope.  

At the heart of midwifery is the safety of a mum and her baby. With the mounting pressures faced by midwives, the level of care will wane, which is precisely when that safety is compromised in one way or another.

In my position as a practising midwife and in-house midwifery advisor to medical negligence lawyers, I have sadly come across many mums and families who have unfortunately suffered injuries or complications as a result of mismanaged deliveries. But as a midwife I have seen the pressures placed upon the midwives in a busy maternity ward. For more information, please see my previous blog: UK Midwives Shortage: a View From a Midwife

At the heart of midwifery is the safety of a mum and her baby. With the mounting pressures faced by midwives, the level of care will wane, which is precisely when that safety is compromised in one way or another.

The midwife shortage in England has been well documented, having resulted in red flag events and impersonal care that has left women feeling frightened and being treated “like cattle”, according to a new report from the National Childbirth Trust (NCT).

Attention to the working conditions and recruiting of trainee midwives must continue to be made a top priority. Scrapping the bursaries for student midwives is an unwise move in the face of the challenges for midwifery recruitment and should be re-instated  immediately. Experienced and senior midwives should be encouraged to stay after their retirement even on a part-time basis to help support these junior members of staff.  Staff retention should be made a priority across all trusts. The RCM has been warning about this issue for years and planning does not seem to be robust enough to avoid this crisis.

 

 

Theresa Greenwood is a practising midwife and in-house midwifery advisor to the medical negligence lawyers at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.

The clinical negligence lawyers at the Slater and Gordon specialise in claims against the NHS, GPs, private doctors and hospitals arising out of medical negligence.

For a free consultation about a clinical or medical negligence compensation claim call us 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9049 or contact us online and we will call you.

Medical Negligence Claims, Clinical / Medical Negligence, negligence

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