‘Fix crisis in midwifery staffing now’ says the RCM

on 02 November 2022 Midwifery Midwives Midwifery Workforce Maternity Services NHS RCM RCM Branches Workplace representatives

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has called on the Scottish Government to take urgent action on the midwifery staffing crisis.

Speaking at the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC), the RCM said that it was vital that the Government to act now to improve retention and recruitment of midwives.

Scotland like the rest of the UK is experiencing a crisis in midwifery staffing. Enormous demands on overstretched maternity services are causing record levels of burnout for workers. A recent survey by the RCM of midwives in Scotland, 75% said in that they were considering leaving the profession and only 3% said they felt valued by the Government.

This is clearly unsustainable. The RCM believes that the greatest return of investment in the future population health is maternity care but for too long now midwifery has not been given the recognition and investment as a profession. Midwives call out for better career structures, better professional development, better training and better pay.

The Government needs to act now to investment in educational programs, to give midwives the right training and importantly reward them for their expertise.

At the congress the RCM motion to take urgent measures to improve retention and recruitment of midwives and protect safety in maternity services by keeping midwives in midwifery was overwhelmingly passed.

The STUC also agreed a motion forwarded by the RCM demanding the Government take action on to address the impact of health inequalities on maternity outcomes.

Commenting, RCM Director for Scotland, Jaki Lambert said:

“The stats speak for themselves and show that disadvantaged women are more likely to experience poor maternity outcomes. For example women living in the most deprived areas in the UK can be 50% more likely to experience stillbirth or neonatal death. Furthermore numerous reports show that women with severe and multiple disadvantage (SMD) were overrepresented amongst the women who had died during pregnancy or shortly after birth in the UK. This is an awful fact of our healthcare system and fundamental change and more investment in midwifery services is needed.

“This requires a fundamental change and investment in how and where care is provided when the cost of a bus fare can prohibit attending an essential appointment. This is only going to get worse with the cost-of-living crisis.

“There needs to be more midwives so they can take on smaller caseloads and give more time to those that are most vulnerable. We call on the STUC to do everything in its power to lobby the government to fund this.”

Find out more about midwives voting yes to industrial action over pay in Scotland.