Not good enough says RCM on midwife numbers in Health Foundation report

By Not good enough says RCM on midwife numbers in Health Foundation report on 28 November 2019 NHS England England NHS NHS Staff NHS Funding Midwives Midwife Shortage The Health Foundation Staffing Levels

Today the Health Foundation has published a report on the NHS Workforce. The reports shows how different NHS staff groups have grown in the past year.  Midwives have grown in number by the smallest of any group. 

Commenting on the report, Sean O'Sullivan Head of Health and Social Policy at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said: "England is around 2500 full time midwives short of the number it needs. To see midwife numbers not growing at the speed needed is disappointing for hard pressed maternity staff struggling to deliver the safest and best possible care with often inadequate staffing. It is also disappointing for mothers, babies and their families who deserve a maternity service that has the resources to meet their needs.

"The report shows that the NHS in England only gained 80 new midwives in the past year. This is not good enough. The Government have committed to giving England's NHS 3000 more midwives by 2024 and this is positive and welcome. For the Government to achieve that we need to see a step change in training, employment and retention of midwives to ensure we reach that 3000 figure soon, not on some far distant date.

"The Government's promises are admirable, but we need to see them honoured." 

The RCM outlines its call for more midwives in its Manifesto for the General Election. For more information on the RCM's Manifesto see

The Health Foundation report 'Falling short: the NHS workforce challenge Workforce profile and trends of the NHS in England' can be read at​.

To contact the RCM Media Office and for MSW case studies call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected]

Notes to Editors

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