Student places to increase in Scotland

By Julie Griffiths on 31 January 2018 Student midwives

The number of student midwives and nurses entering Scottish Government funded degree programmes will increase by 10.8% in 2018/19.

The increase will mean a recommended intake of 3724, up from 3360 in 2017/18.  

The announcement was made today (31 January) by the Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robinson on a visit to Erskine Home where she met students on placement.  

RCM director for Scotland Mary Ross-Davie said: ‘We welcome that the Scottish Government has responded to RCM’s calls and advice on student midwife places. Today’s announcement means that the current intake of student midwives will now rise by 18.3% from 191 to 226 places.

‘This increase in student numbers, along with the commitment to sustaining and supporting return-to-practice programmes, the continued provision of bursary support for student midwives and the planned ongoing work in relation to widening access and routes into a midwifery career, are a positive response to the growing midwifery workforce issues across Scotland.

‘This significant increase in student midwife numbers is necessary to respond to the growing gap between midwives coming into the NHS in Scotland and those leaving. Over 40% of midwives in Scotland are now over the age of 50 and we are seeing a rapid rise in the number of retirees. We are also seeing younger midwives leaving midwifery, attracted by lower caseloads in other healthcare professions and, in some cases, better pay.  

‘It’s also crucial that the increase in student numbers is matched by appropriate increases in teaching staff. There is a need to train and support more midwifery mentors to support student midwives when they are in practice.’