RCM welcomes new NHS England workforce plan - reserves judgment until Government makes its plans for investment clear

on 30 June 2023 RCM Maternity Services Midwifery Midwives Midwife Shortage Safe high quality care Staffing Levels England Funding Government Midwife Training Apprenticeships NHS England NHS RCM CEO

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has welcomed NHS England’s long-awaited long-term workforce plan, but warned that, without the necessary investment, the plan will be rendered meaningless.

The workforce plan, published today, focuses on many of the areas the RCM has long been lobbying for, including the expansion of apprenticeships for midwifery and greater investment in the retention of existing midwives. However, it has said it will reserve judgment on how – or even whether - this plan will be delivered until the Government makes clear how much investment it is prepared to make.

Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the RCM, said: “This workforce plan has been a long time coming, and we welcome this long-term approach by NHS England. We are also pleased to see the challenges in maternity services being addressed, particularly the need for sustainable growth in the midwifery workforce. However, while seeing this acknowledgement in black and white is welcome, without the significant financial investment needed it will be rendered meaningless. It’s time for the Government to honour the thought and hard work that has gone into this plan.”

The RCM has welcomed the plan’s shift away from an over-reliance on international recruitment. Instead the investment in homegrown talent will help to ensure that the much-needed growth in the maternity workforce is sustainable. The focus on retention is vital, says the RCM, in order to support those coming into the profession, as well as providing good quality, safe care for women and families.

Gill added: “We fully support NHS England’s commitment to expanding apprenticeship pathways for maternity support workers. This is something we have been lobbying for for some time. However – and sadly there has to be this caveat – unless those routes into midwifery are properly funded and those MSW roles are backfilled to allow apprentices to work and study, the scheme is doomed to fail.”

The Government is due to publish its response to the NHS long-term workforce plan, which will include its financial commitment, later on Friday.


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

Notes to Editor 

The NHS England Long Term Workforce Plan can be viewed at NHS England » NHS Long Term Workforce Plan.

See also:

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.