Half of student midwives consider leaving training over financial concerns reveals RCM’

on 23 September 2019 RCM Annual Conference Wales RCM Wales

‘Almost half of student midwives have considered leaving their midwifery courses due to financial pressures and debt’ that’s according to the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) who today have published the results of a new student midwife survey.

The RCM have described the findings as ‘worrying’ for the future of the midwifery profession as their Annual Conference gets underway in Manchester today (Tuesday September 24th).

The survey of the RCM’s student membership – asked questions around their current financial situation, levels of debt accrued to become a midwife and the impact of the removal of the student midwife bursary in England


Findings from the RCM’s survey of student midwives included;

• £41,000 is the average amount of debt a student midwife expects to graduate with, but some have debts totalling £100,000.

• £562 the average amount of money a student midwife is taking from friends or family to cover their day-to-day living costs every month.

• Almost 95 percent (93.43%) was the proportion of student midwives in England currently receiving a bursary and who say it isn't enough for them to live on.

• £409 is the average amount of money a student midwife in England who is still in receipt of a bursary is short for their bills every month.

• 50 percent of student midwives who apply for a grant to help with childcare have their application rejected and over one third of midwives with caring responsibilities are getting no financial support.


Commenting, Gill Walton General Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives said; “To burden student midwives with large amounts of debt that they will struggle to pay with a modest NHS salary is unjust and frankly just wrong. We should be doing all we can to make working in the NHS as attractive as possible, but the current system and the removal of the bursary is making student midwives think about leaving before they have even began their midwifery careers.

Furthermore it’s deterring potentially great students from considering a career in midwifery. This is particularly worrying given the large shortage of midwives in England and sits at odds with the Government’s commitment to bring 3,000 more midwives into the NHS.

“Our student midwife members have told us they worry so much about money and debt that it is affecting their studies on a day to day basis and this is simply unacceptable at a time in their lives when they should be relatively care free and able to concentrate on their studies.

“This is why the RCM has consistently opposed the removal of the bursary for student midwives in England.
“And this is why I am repeating the RCM’s call for this Government to give our student midwives their bursaries back, so that we can attract more not fewer people into the profession.

“The Government should be doing all it can to ensure that NHS maternity services right across the UK are future proofed, ensuring there are enough midwives to deliver safe high quality care to women and their babies.”


The RCM Annual Conference is running on Tuesday, 24th and Wednesday, 25th September at Manchester Central. For more information on the RCM Annual Conference see https://www.rcmconference.org.uk/.

Notes to Editors

Information about the RCM’s student midwife survey

• The RCM ran this survey for student midwife members from May 14- June 30th 2019 and received 1,197 responses.
• Student midwives from across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland responded.
• The RCM asked them some demographic information, then about their living situation, financial support they were receiving, and then some questions about their financial confidence.
• We asked questions about deferring or leaving their courses.

Related RCM content:

‘RCM calls for instatement of student midwife bursary’



‘We warned you’ says the RCM on shortfall in applications for midwifery degrees https://www.rcm.org.uk/media-releases/2016/december/we-warned-you-says-rcm-on-shortfall-in-applications-for-midwifery-degrees/


To contact the RCM’s Media Relations team call 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected]



About the RCM
The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. It provides workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with a broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at