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RCM welcomes Wales latest student midwife bursary announcement but longer term commitment needed

23 April, 2018

RCM welcomes Wales latest student midwife bursary announcement but longer term commitment needed

Today the Welsh Government has announced that it will maintain bursaries for those electing to study an eligible health related programme, including midwifery . This arrangement is intended to be in place for those starting their training in September 2019. Commenting, Helen Rogers, Royal College of Midwives Director for Wales, said: “This is very welcome news.  It brings some stability, certainty and much needed financial support for those looking to train as midwives next year. This is vital if we are to attract the best entrants from across our society.

“It is good news that Welsh Government is not following England where bursaries are being scrapped and numbers applying to be midwives have plummeted*. It is vital for student midwives that the bursary is retained. Around 1 in 4** student midwives already carry debt from a first degree and would not be able to train as a midwife without the bursary. It would also affect those from lower income families and mature students from entering the profession.

“We now need to see a much longer term solution to this. We have had this and previous announcements which is great but this is stop start decision making. We need to impress upon many people now that they can begin looking to midwifery as a career years into the future as many will have to make preparations such as undergoing further study in order to apply to train as a midwife. They and may others need longer term commitments so they in turn can plan for their future.

“I now urge the Welsh Government to commit to make a commitment on this well into the future, ensuring that student midwives of the future see midwifery as an affordable career choice beyond 2018 to ensure the future supply of midwives for Wales.”

To contact the RCM Press Office call 020 7312 3456 or email pressofficer@rcm.org.uk.

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*Recent RCM analysis of UCAS statistics for England shows that the number of students applying to midwifery courses in England has fallen steadily every year since 2013 which has resulted in a total of 35 percent fewer applicants for midwifery courses than there were in 2013. See a press release at https://www.rcm.org.uk/news-views-and-analysis/news/%E2%80%98applications-to-midwifery-courses-down-by-over-one-third-having-fallen.

** https://www.rcm.org.uk/news-views-and-analysis/news/student-midwives-born-into-debt-and-delivered-to-the-dole.

The 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 website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.

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