The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said that this was “the latest blow to the midwifery profession” after the union warned of a ‘retirement time bomb’.
In the annual State of Maternity Services Survey 2015, it was found that the number of midwives was increasing but not fast enough, with the country facing a shortage of 2,600.
Responding to today’s Government Spending Review, RCM’s director for policy, employment relations and communications Jon Skewes said: “Today’s announcement is extremely worrying. There has been no consultation on the proposed changes and therefore no opportunity to highlight the huge and negative impact that this will have on midwifery student numbers.
“The cuts are likely to deter many potential students from entering the profession which is not good news for the future of midwifery in the UK. Cutting public funding to train frontline staff in an already struggling and understaffed maternity service just doesn’t make sense.
“It’s already deeply frustrating for midwives that they often cannot provide the quality of maternity care that women and their babies deserve because they don’t have the time and are so short staffed as demand on maternity services increases.”
In England and Wales, students have to pay £9,000 in tuition fees per academic year at university.
Under the Spending Review proposal, student midwives could be £65,000 in debt following graduation.
During the announcement of the Spending Review, George Osborne also stated that the NHS in England would receive a cash injection of £6 billion next year, as part of £10 billion added funding.
An extra £600 million will also be used for mental health services.
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