Northern Ireland Government ignoring maternity safety concerns says RCM 

on 12 November 2020 NHS Staff Government Northern Ireland Director For Northern Ireland RCM Northern Ireland Safety Midwife Shortage Newly Qualified Midwives

Midwife numbers in Northern Ireland are not growing despite the huge pressure on maternity services, compromising safety says the Royal College of Midwives responding to new figures. 

Karen Murray, Northern Ireland Director at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Midwife numbers are static yet the pressures on services, even before the pandemic, keep growing. We have new midwives coming in, but any gains are wiped out by those retiring or choosing to leave midwifery. This means we are seeing more newly qualified midwives who are very competent but lacking experience and needing a lot of support from experienced colleagues, but we are losing our long-serving colleagues, skewing the skill balance in the profession. This is not sustainable and does not contribute to services that can deliver the safest and best possible care.” 

The figures released by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) show the numbers of new midwives coming on to the register flatlining for Northern Ireland. All midwives must be registered with the NMC to work in the UK.  

Karen Murray added, “The pandemic has laid bare the lack of investment in maternity services and the simple fact that there are not enough staffThe Northern Ireland Assembly need to take this issue seriously and develop a strategic plan to ensure that we have an appropriately resourced, high quality maternity service that meets the needs of women and their families. That means ensuring that we have enough midwives to meet demands, bring in more new midwives and retain experienced ones. Safety is being compromised, care is being compromised and this simply cannot continue to be ignored.” 


To contact the RCM media office call 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected] Notes to Editors 

The NMC statistics published yesterday can be viewed at (live from 00.01 12 November). 

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