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Inadequate staffing levels 'a worry'

Posted: 1 March 2013 by Rob Dabrowski

Midwives have reported concerns that a shortage in their number is leading to a lower standard of care.

Inadequate staffing levels ‘a worry’
The worries about inadequate staffing are reported in the results of the NHS staff survey.

Only 51% of midwives who responded agreed or strongly agreed that they were able deliver the care that they ‘aspire to’.

When asked about recognition for their work, just 5% were ‘very satisfied’ and 33% classed themselves as ‘satisfied’.  

Louise Silverton, RCM director for midwifery, believes that the profession is playing catch-up after a ‘decade or more of understaffing’.

‘The number of midwives reporting that they do not have enough staff to do their job well or give the level of care they want to is a real concern,’ she said.

‘However, it perhaps should not come as a surprise given that we are short of 5000 midwives in England.
‘There is no doubt that the government is increasing the number of midwives but the birthrate continues to rise and an increasing number of the pregnancies are becoming more complicated.

‘Midwife numbers are still playing catch-up after a decade or more of understaffing.
‘Midwives are one of the most dissatisfied groups when it comes to job satisfaction. These results show that not only are midwives deeply frustrated by this, but that the service is perhaps too often not offering the quality of care midwives want to deliver and women should expect.’

A total of 202,000 NHS staff were invited to participate by postal questionnaire. Responses were received from 101,000 staff.

The results are primarily intended for use by NHS organisations to help them review and improve staff experience so that staff can provide better patient care.

The Care Quality Commission will use the results from the survey to monitor ongoing compliance with essential standards of quality and safety.

The NHS Commissioning Board will also use the results to help make better commissioning decisions.

For more information and to read the full results of the survey, please click here.