New report on widening participation to midwifery

By Julie Griffiths on 08 December 2017 NHS Scotland Education

A new review into widening participation in nursing and midwifery education and careers has been published.

Commissioned by Scotland’s chief nursing officer Professor Fiona McQueen, the review recommends a range of measures to encourage people from a diverse range of backgrounds into nursing and midwifery.

Recommendations include a national campaign to recruit a more diverse workforce and tackle negative stereotypes, more flexible routes into education, and using the commissioning of training places to incentivise widening participation.

The RCM Scotland contributed actively to the commission group and the report, which also recognises the current challenges being experienced in Scotland with a falling number of midwives due to a high rate of referrals.

RCM director for Scotland Mary Ross-Davie said: ‘The RCM welcomes the recommendations of the commission that seek to ensure that midwifery programmes are accessible for a wider section of our population; firstly, through developing routes through which MSWs are able to access pre-registration midwifery programmes. Secondly, the reintroduction of a shortened pre-registration midwifery programme in Scotland for registered nurses.

‘We are pleased to see the recommendations that return-to-practice courses for previous midwives to return to the profession receive continued support and that the nursing and midwifery bursary should continue. Adequate financial support for student midwives that does not leave newly qualified midwives with a burden of debt is a vital element in attracting and retaining students and new midwives in the profession.

‘The RCM’s hope is that the commission’s recommendations will be acted upon and will result in a growing number of men and women from diverse backgrounds and parts of Scotland choosing to enter the exciting and hugely rewarding career of midwifery.’

Access the full report The CNO commission on widening participation in nursing and midwifery education and careers here.