UCAS data, analysed by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), shows that there has been a 35% drop in the number of applications for midwifery courses in England since 2013.
The biggest drop in midwifery applications has come from those aged 21 or over, with just 6,700 applications being received in 2017 in comparison to over 12,000 received in 2013, presenting a 45% decline.
Commenting on the decline, Professional Policy Advisor at the RCM, Gabrielle Bourke, said: “We are not surprised by these figures as the RCM has previously raised concerns about how less attractive midwifery as a profession was becoming particularly since the midwifery bursary was abolished and tuition fees were introduced in August 2017.
“It is disappointing to see the drop in applications from those aged 21 and older. We know that many of those who have previously chosen careers in midwifery have been older students, often women with children inspired by the care they received while pregnant choosing to become a midwife.”
The decline in midwifery applications has come shortly after the UK Government pledged to train more than 3,000 more midwives in England over the next few years.
“The RCM welcomes the recent announcement by the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt to increase the number of NHS midwives by training more than 3,000 midwives over the next four years and we look forward to working/supporting the Government to make this announcement a reality of more midwives working in England.
“At present in England we remain 3,5000 midwives short of what is needed to deliver safe, high quality care to women and their families, but for now we need urgent measures to ensure that we will still have enough students willing to become midwives so this vision can be achieved.”
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