RCM supports calls for retired and student midwives to join midwifery workforce

By RCM supports calls for retired and student midwives to join midwifery workforce on 19 March 2020 Midwives RCM Safety Safe high quality care Maternity Services RCM Member Student midwives Midwifery NMC - Nursing and Midwifery Council Midwife Training Midwifery Workforce Midwifery Training Places

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is supporting emergency moves to expand the maternity workforce in light of the current coronavirus crisis. Under new measures just introduced by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), midwives who have recently retired from the register will be invited to return. Third year Midwifery students will also be invited to join the maternity workforce in supporting roles.

The NMC has established a temporary emergency register to allow midwives who have retired or are working elsewhere to return to the profession. 

Commenting, the RCM’s Executive Director for Services to Members, Dr Suzanne Tyler, said: “There are many midwives no longer working who have the skills and experience that will be of enormous help during this period. With proper preparation and support they will make an invaluable contribution to our maternity services. It’s free to join the NMC emergency register so we are encouraging those midwives that can do so. We will be contacting RCM members in our retired or associate categories  to extend the benefits of full membership to them for the duration they are on the emergency register.”

On student midwives joining the workforce, Dr. Tyler says:

Disrupting the education of midwifery students is the last thing we would want to see happen, but we are operating in unprecedented circumstances. The measures announced today will allow third year midwifery students who have six months or less of their programme remaining to move into a clinical placement where they will be working alongside qualified midwives. They will be supervised, paid and will continue to receive academic support from their lecturers and clinical educators. There is still much detail to be ironed out and we will be pressing for early answers to how this will affect their continuing studies, their bursaries, their student loans and much more.”

The RCM has stressed that this is entirely voluntary, and no student midwife should feel be obliged to work in any area where they do not feel confident or competent.


The joint statement from the NMC on expanding the midwifery workforce during the COVID-19 crisis is available to view here: https://www.nmc.org.uk/news/coronavirus/how-we-will-regulate/




To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected], Pictures will be available following the visit.


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/.