RCM calls for annual workforce assessment in Health Bill

on 16 July 2021 Midwives NHS Maternity Services Midwifery Workforce Midwife Shortage

An annual assessment of NHS maternity and wider workforce requirements is needed says the Royal College of Midwives (RCM). It follows news today that Health Education England (HEE) have been commissioned by the Minister of State for Care to conduct a one-off review long-term health and social care workforce trends.  

Sean O’Sullivan, Head of Health and Social Policy at the RCM said: “"This is welcome as we should rightly be looking a long way ahead to ensure that we have the right staff with the right training in place. We would however go further as we believe that HEE should be undertaking an assessment every year of workforce needs. This is a moving target and this demands that any assessment is looked at again with fresh eyes every year so that immediate and pressing gaps can be identified and dealt with. We had hoped that the Health and Care Bill would have incorporated such a role for HEE and it is disappointing that the Bill currently falls short of what is needed. We will be urging the Government to remedy this and include a proper duty to assess workforce needs when the Bill comes back before Parliament." 

“Maternity is to some extent ahead of the curve on this, following the Expert Panel review of safe staffing and the Health Committee review of maternity service safety published last week.  This recommended increased investment of £200m-£350m in maternity services to eliminate staffing shortages, including current shortages of 2,000 midwives. We need that additional and immediate investment now, and continued investment into the future. This will ensure we once and for all really tackle the chronic understaffing and training issues that have blighted our maternity services and the wider NHS for a decade or more.” 


To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected]

Notes to editor

The Royal College of Midwives (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.