Government must fix maternity staffing crisis to ensure safety RCM tells TUC Women’s Conference

By RCM on 11 March 2022 RCM TUC Women Wellbeing Of Women Midwife Shortage Staffing Levels NHS Staff Midwives MSWs - Maternity Support Workers

The Government must fix the worsening staffing shortages in maternity services to protect the safety of care. That’s the message from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) in a motion to the TUC Women’s Conference today.

Midwives and maternity support workers are also at breaking point and morale is plummeting says the RCM. A survey of RCM members last autumn showed that over half (57%) of those considering leaving planned to go within the next year. Nine out of ten (92%) said they do not feel their work is valued by the Government.


England is currently grappling with a shortage of 2000 midwives and it’s a situation that is getting worse. RCM analysis from official NHS figures shows that midwife numbers dropped by over 300 in the year to November 2021.

Alice Sorby, Director for Employment Relations at the RCM, said: “I have never seen morale among our dedicated maternity teams at such a low ebb. We are heading into a vicious cycle of staffing shortage leading to burnout in staff, leading to them thinking of leaving, which will worsen shortages, and so it goes. We must see the Government take action to tackle this crisis. The safest care cannot be delivered without the right numbers of staff, and we haven’t had that in maternity for a long, long time.

“Report after report into problems in maternity services have highlighted the lack of staff as a serious problem and a factor impacting on the safety of care. In the week that we celebrate International Women’s Day this must be fixed once and for all as a matter of urgency for the sake of women, their babies, and for the health and wellbeing of staff.”

The RCM’s shared workforce service staffing motion was passed at the TUC Congress.

The RCM also has a motion calling on the TUC to campaign for improvements in shared parental pregnancy leave. It has also made an amendment to a NASUWT and Royal College of Podiatry motion on women’s health. This calls on the TUC to campaign for better support for women in the workplace with health issues, including those going through the menopause.


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

Notes to Editors: 

For more information on the TUC Women’s Conference visit LINK HERE

See also Maternity staffing shortage hitting quality and safety RCM tells politicians.

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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 | A professional organisation and trade union dedicated to serving the whole midwifery team