Royal College of Midwives calls on Government to ‘get a grip’, as maternity staff in the North West cite safety worries

on 16 June 2023 RCM Maternity Services Midwifery Midwives Midwife Shortage Safe high quality care Safety Staffing Levels Women Maternity Safety

Midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) in the North West have told the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) they have significant concerns about the safe staffing of maternity services. In a survey published today by the RCM, a staggering 87.7% of midwives and MSWs in the region said their staffing levels were unsafe. The results come ahead of a maternity round table in Manchester today (16 June), led by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.

The survey, which asked midwives and MSWs about their working conditions during the first week of March, showed the region facing safety concerns, poor staffing levels, excessive workloads and high levels of staff burnout. It also found that a staggering 88% worked unpaid hours that week, with almost a quarter (23%) working five or more additional unpaid hours.

Dr Suzanne Tyler, Executive Director, Trade Union, at the RCM, who is speaking at today’s round table, said: “Chronic underinvestment in maternity services has brought us to this point, where midwives and MSWs are worried about the ability to care for women and families safely. That is simply unacceptable – but it’s not insurmountable. The Government needs to get a grip, not tomorrow, not next year, but right now. They owe it to the staff who are working way beyond their hours because there aren’t enough midwives or MSWs to relieve them, and they owe it to the women and families who have a right to good quality, safe care.”

Inadequate staffing levels and increasing demands on maternity services mean midwives and MSWs are also being subjected to excessive pressures. Almost three-quarters (74%) of respondents in the North West said they always or often faced unrealistic time pressures or workloads.


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

Notes to Editor 

The survey had just under 4,000 responses from midwives and maternity support workers in England with 643 from the North West The survey asked four questions about the conditions in their maternity services between 1-8 March 2023.

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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.