RCM survey reveals burn-out fears

By Julie Griffiths on 15 March 2018 RCM Caring For You campaign

Excessive workloads and lack of resources are leading to fears of burn-out among maternity staff, an RCM survey reveals.

The new survey is part of the RCM’s Caring for You campaign and follows a similar previous survey in 2016.

It found that only a quarter (26.6%) of respondents took their entitled breaks most or all of the time. 

Although this is an improvement from the 2016 Caring for You survey, when only 21% of respondents said they take their entitled breaks most or all of the time, it still means that almost three-quarters of midwives are not taking adequate breaks.

Another concern is that over half (56.6%) of respondents felt dehydrated at work most or all of the time because they don’t have enough time to drink. 

Equally worrying is that the number of respondents working unpaid hours has increased. In the 2016 survey, 17% of respondents said they worked five or more hours extra every week unpaid. This has now increased to nearly a fifth (19.4%).    

Work-related stress levels have also worsened. In the 2016 survey, 64% said they had felt unwell as a result of work-related stress in the last 12 months. This has increased to 65.9%. 

The three most common reasons for feeling stress were workload (78.7%); staff shortages (75.2%); and not enough time to do the job (70%). These reasons are unchanged since the 2016 survey and suggest a service remaining under-resourced and under-staffed. 

RCM chief executive Gill Walton welcomed the improvements and said it showed the Caring for You campaign was working. However, she said there was still a lot of work to do.   

‘The situation for many midwives is still worrying and does not support them to deliver safe and high quality care. This is a real concern for the RCM and it should equally be a concern for employers and the government,’ said Gill.

‘The RCM will continue to campaign for better working conditions for midwives and MSWs. The lack of staff and resources will, and does, affect the care our maternity professionals can deliver and this must change,’ she added.
The full RCM Caring for You survey 2017 report can be read here