The UK Government has announced measures to strengthen NHS maternity services in England, including training 3,000 more midwives over the next four years.
The Government also announced that a new defined maternity support worker role would be introduced, providing new training routes into midwifery.
The Royal College of Midwives has welcomed the new range of measures for England’s NHS maternity services, but also said that training midwives was “only half the problem.”
Commenting on the Government announcement, Chief Executive and General Secretary at the RCM, Gill Walton, said: “This announcement must be welcomed. It will come as a relief to NHS midwives who have been working incredibly hard, for many years, with increasing demands and inadequate resources.
“Simply training more midwives is only half of the problem. The other key issue is ensuring that when these midwives qualify they actually get jobs in the NHS. We must get a commitment from the Government and trusts to employ them. Trusts are going to need an increase in the money they get so they can employ the new midwives.”
It was also announced that the majority of pregnant women will receive care from the same midwife throughout their pregnancy, labour and birth by 2021.
“The commitment to more continuity of care is good news because the evidence is clear this is the best way to provide the safest and highest quality care for women and their babies. The priority for all maternity services is ensuring every woman has a named midwife during pregnancy and one-to-one care in labour,” Gill Walton added.
The news comes shortly after the Government announced an NHS pay agreement which will see midwives and other health care professionals receiving a pay increase of 9% to 29% over the next three years.
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