RCM responds to Health Select Committee report on nursing workforce

By RCM on 26 January 2018 Midwifery Nurses Brexit Midwifery Workforce Health Select Committee Bursaries and Scholarships NHS Pay Review Body

‘Too little attention has been given to retaining midwives and nurses in the NHS, which has clearly resulted in more leaving than joining the profession’ say the Health Committee in their latest report published today (Friday January 26th) on the nursing workforce.

The Committee have also recommended that assurances be given to midwives and nurses from other EU countries that they will be able to remain in the UK working in the NHS post Brexit.

Importantly the Committee has also advised that the Government needs to also observe closely the impact of the removal of the midwifery bursaries, particularly the impact on mature students.

Responding to the report, Jon Skewes, Director of Employment Relations, Policy and Communications at The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said; “The recommendations and advice set out by the Health Committee in this report come as no surprise to the RCM.  The advice they have given to Government in this report is inline with what the RCM has been long asking and warning of on vital workforce issues.

“The NHS in England remains 3,500 midwives short of the number of midwives it needs to deliver a safe and high quality maternity service. Indeed the Secretary for State, Jeremy Hunt in November himself exclaimed in the Commons ‘We need more midwives’ and now what the RCM would like to see is a clear commitment and plan from the Government to eliminate the midwifery shortage.

“The implications of Brexit on the midwifery workforce are also most concerning given the current shortage of midwives. The latest data clearly shows the number of EU nationals coming to the UK and registering as midwives has dramatically decreased since the vote last year. The RCM is again calling on the Government to give assurances to midwives and to all healthcare professionals working in the NHS that they can remain working in our health service regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations.

“The impact of years of pay restraint is also without doubt affecting the ability of the NHS to retain midwives. It has never been so crucial that the NHS Pay Review Body make a recommendation for a fair pay rise so that existing midwives feel valued and stay in the NHS. A fair pay rise for midwives and all NHS staff is the key intervention that should be made now and this would go towards solving the workforce retention issues highlighted in this report.”


Notes to editors

Related RCM media releases and reports

‘Maternity services can no longer run on goodwill of midwives says RCM'

View the RCM’s member survey on pay and the full RCM Pay Review Body Evidence report

*Question to the Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt on maternity services (House of Commons - November 14th 2017)


To contact the RCM media relations team call 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected]

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.