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Midwife vacancy rates on the up

26 August, 2010

Midwife vacancy rates on the up

There has been a rise in the vacancy rates for midwives in the NHS, while most other staff groups have seen a dip, according to figures from the NHS Information Centre. Posted 27 August 2010 by Julie Griffiths
There has been a rise in the vacancy rates for midwives in the NHS, while most other staff groups have seen a dip, according to figures from the NHS Information Centre

On 31 March, the NHS Vacancies Survey showed that 1.2% of midwifery posts had been vacant for three months or more. The previous year, it stood at 1%.

In other staff groups, the survey found 0.5% of jobs had been vacant for the same length of time, compared to 0.6% in 2009.

GPs were the only other group to have seen a rise in three-month vacancies at 0.5 %, up from 0.3% last year.  These figures were collected in a separate survey – GP Practice Vacancies survey – conducted on the same date.

Although midwifery vacancies were highest of all staff groups, the total vacancy rate – which is defined as all vacancies regardless of the length of time they have been open –had dropped.

It was 2.7% compared to 3.4 % the previous year.

This was still higher than the average. The total vacancy rate across the NHS stood at 2.1%, compared to 2.9% in 2009.

RCM’s director of employment relations and development Jon Skewes said any midwifery post remaining empty was a concern.

‘We have experienced a huge surge in the birth rate over recent years and midwife numbers have still to catch up. A vacant post means there is a midwife missing who could be helping to provide safe and high-quality care,’ he said.

Jon added that the government had identified a need for 3000 more midwives by 2012.

‘This must be delivered,’ he said.

NHS Information Centre chief executive Tim Straughan said midwives and GPs were the exception to the general pattern of a dip in long-term vacancies.

‘Such findings will be of use to the NHS in showing which job roles appear to be difficult to fill,’ he said.


 
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