On February 7 2022, the Royal College of Midwives published figures indicating that the number of full time midwives in the NHS had fallen by 331 between November 2020 and November 2021.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated decline but can be seen as a trend over the past 5 years.
It is thought that the overall shortage of midwives in practice is of more than 2,000. In total, the NHS currently employs the equivalent of approximately 22,391 full time midwives but require 25,000.
This is a significant shortfall and is of growing concern to both the profession and prospective parents.
The Royal College of Midwives is calling for backing from the government to not only support staff who are already working in difficult and trying circumstances but also to incentivise those considering applying to become midwives, in an attempt to address the growing crisis.
Appropriately trained and supported midwives are of paramount importance to the country’s maternity units and it is imperative, to ensure the safety of both mothers and babies, that they receive the standard of care they deserve from their maternity care provider. With an unprecedented shortage of midwives, one cannot help but be concerned by what impact this could have on maternity services as a whole.
Denise Stephens, partner in the Thames Valley (Reading) office of Shoosmiths says:
“This is a staggering decline in the number of qualified midwives. We already see many cases where there have been failures in midwifery care, which lead to injuries to both mother and child. More pressure on the midwives is bound to bring more cases to our door. There needs to be recognition of the vital work done by midwives and encouragement for those considering this course to enter the maternity services. Their value cannot be underestimated”.
This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2022