RCM expresses concern at ‘huge drop’ in number of applications to study midwifery

on 14 July 2023 RCM President RCM Member RCM RCM CEO RCM Wales RCM Scotland RCM Northern Ireland Midwives MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Student midwives

RCM expresses concern at ‘huge drop’ in number of applications to study midwifery  
The number of students applying to study midwifery in the UK has dropped by a fifth, according to the latest UCAS figures, raising concerns about future workforce planning.

Although student numbers are still around pre-pandemic levels, there continues to be a year-on-year decline in applications. The RCM estimates that there is already a shortfall of 2,500 full-time midwives and the NHS Long Term workforce Plan in England identifies that there needs to be an increase in the number of midwives working in the health service over next few years.  
Responding to UCAS figures, Fiona Gibb, Director of Professional Midwifery at the RCM, said: “The students of today become the much-needed midwives of tomorrow so it’s extremely concerning to see a huge drop in comparison to last year in applications to midwifery courses. This is already on top on the fall last year. We must continue to promote midwifery as a rewarding career and make the NHS an attractive place students want to work in the future.”
Other findings of the UCAS report are:
  • There were 9470 applicants to midwifery courses in total for 2023.
  • England and Northern Ireland still have more applicants than in 2019 but Scotland and Wales have dropped below 2019 levels.
  • While 18-year-olds continue to be the largest group applying to courses, there has been a steady rise in mature applicants since 2019 with 1270 students applying over the age of 35.
The full UCAS report be found here
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.