The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has published a report which shows a third of midwives are nearing retirement, making the shortage of midwives “at crisis point”.
The report ‘State of Maternity Services’ says that 1 in 5 midwives in Scotland and Northern Ireland are in their fifties or sixties, with over 1,000 midwives in England over 60 years old.
It was also found that the number of NHS midwives in England below the age of 50 has fallen since 2010, with the number of midwives over this age growing substantially.
In Wales, 1 in 3 midwives working in March 2016 are nearing retirement. In comparison to 2011, most midwives in Wales were in their forties.
The number of midwives and maternity care assistants in Scotland make up 41% of the total workforce, with the number of midwives in the older age categories increasing while the number of younger midwives is down.
Commenting on the report, RCM Chief Executive, Cathy Warwick, said: “A vast proportion of our midwives are close to retirement. We’re lucky to have them. They are doing great work every day.
“But it’s an unescapable fact that they will soon take their well-deserved retirement. That will challenge our maternity units and put the whole system potentially on the brink of collapse.”
The latest ‘State of Maternity Services’ report was launched at the House of Commons on Tuesday 7 February 2017.
The full report and past reports can be found on the RCM website here.