Below inflation pay award ‘unacceptable’ says RCM

on 19 July 2022 Midwives RCM Maternity Services MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Pay NHS Pay Review Body Pay and Agenda For Change England NHS England Government Trade Unions NHS NHS Funding

The Government’s announcement of a 4% percent pay increase for midwives and maternity support workers (MSW) ‘is unacceptable and won’t cut it’ says the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).

While the 4.75% increase is to the overall pay bill, the pay award will be delivered as a consolidated £1,400 payment for all Agenda for Change staff. Which the RCM says will result in a pay increase of just 4% for the majority of its members, while midwives in higher bands will lose out with a lower pay increase again.

By accepting the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) recommendation the Government have wilfully ignored the recruitment and retention crisis engulfing maternity services in England. Worst still they have not listened to staff who are at breaking point says the RCM.

Responding, RCM’s Executive Director Trade Union, Suzanne Tyler says:

“Not only has the Government knowingly delayed a pay rise that was due in April they continue to ignore the cost-of-living crisis and the exodus of midwives. This pay award is less than half the rate of inflation and falls well short of what our members need to continue to cope with the rising cost of living and to remain working in the NHS. A thousand pounds of this pay increase will go on rising energy bills, with the price cap rising by £1,000 in October and then the rest will go in tax. At least this award displays some sort of acknowledgment from the Government that staff at the bottom of the NHS pay scale have been underpaid for far too long. That said, the solution cannot be to take from others who are also deserving of a pay rise. This is not levelling up, its levelling down.”


The RCM says when hospitals are setting up food banks for their staff and experienced midwives and MSWS are going to work in coffee shops – you know something is badly wrong. In order to stop the drop in midwife numbers one important way of retaining staff is a decent pay rise and not making them worse off. Dedicated and committed RCM members have been propping up understaffed maternity services and working beyond their hours, often unpaid, to ensure safe care is delivered to women and their babies. They will no doubt see today’s pay announcement as an absolute insult, and this will further erode already rock-bottom morale.


Suzanne added;

“It’s also a further blow to the NHS that the Government will not fully fund this pay rise, meaning this will have to come from existing NHS budgets. This will hold England’s NHS to ransom at a time when investment is urgently needed to tackle a midwife shortage of well over 2,000, and is beggars’ belief. The public support an above inflation pay rise because they value the work maternity staff do. Sadly, our Government don’t and now refuse to fully fund a pay rise because they are more intent on talking tax cuts for the rich.”


The RCM will now consult with its members and the RCM Board to consider next steps.


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





About the RCM

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





Gemma Murphy Media Relations Advisor