The government must invest in England’s maternity services, says RCM

on 26 July 2022

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is calling on the Government to urgently act to stop England’s maternity services from "spiralling into an ever-worsening crisis".

The call for the Government to act has come shortly after the publication of the Health and Social Care Select Committee Expert Panel’s report, of which the union provided evidence for.

The report’s findings show a serious shortage of midwives and immense pressures on England’s maternity services.

According to the RCM, England has a shortage of 2,000 midwives – a figure that was supported by the Select Committee in its maternity safety inquiry last year.

The latest figures show that there was 600 less midwives in April 2022 in comparison to the same period last year, and even lower than at the last General Election.

Executive Director, Trade Union at the RCM, Suzanne Tyler, said: “This shows an alarming and deeply worrying picture of a government failing maternity services, failing their staff, and failing women, babies, and their families. We have an NHS spiralling ever deeper into crisis yet see only a lacklustre response to it from those in power. Midwives and maternity support workers are breaking their backs to ensure safe and high-quality care against increasingly overwhelming odds, often to the detriment of their own mental and physical health. England has seen a decade and more of serious midwife shortages which are worsening monthly. This simply cannot and must not continue.

“Staff morale is shattered as they face a tidal wave of demands without the staffing, resources, and support to meet them. That is why so many are deciding they cannot take it anymore and are simply walking away. Midwives who are passionate about delivering the highest quality care are walking away from ‘the best job in the world’ because they are overworked, burnt out and feel undervalued.  Too many feel they have nothing left to give. Without enough of them, the safety and quality of care is compromised, and mistakes are made. There is a black hole in the centre of our NHS where staffing and resources should be, and the lifeblood of the NHS is disappearing into it.”

The report from the Health and Social Care Select Committee Expert Panel comes shortly after the government announced a 4 per cent pay increase for midwives and maternity support workers.