Midwife shortage is 'putting mums in peril', experts warn

Midwife shortage is ‘putting mums in peril’ because exhausted staff are forced to work overtime, experts warn

  • Royal College of Midwives warned staff shortages compromising delivery safety
  • The experts warned workers are ‘exhausted’ and ‘demoralised’ over shortages
  • The RCM also released five ‘wishes’ for 2021, including having enough midwives

Midwife shortages are compromising the delivery of safe maternity services, experts have warned.

The Royal College of Midwives said the pandemic has ‘exposed the fault lines’ in staffing gaps – particularly in England. Workers are ‘exhausted’ and ‘demoralised’, with some ‘looking for the door’.

The alarm comes as the RCM releases its five ‘wishes’ for 2021. 

Midwife shortages are compromising the delivery of safe maternity services, experts have warned. The Royal College of Midwives said the pandemic has ‘exposed the fault lines’ in staffing gaps – particularly in England (stock image)

The first is to have enough midwives to deliver a good service to every woman. 

The RCM has warned that staffing shortages particularly in England are compromising the delivery of safe maternity services, with the pandemic only serving to expose the fault lines. 

It said: ‘In England alone there is a shortage of 3,000 midwives, leading to existing staff working beyond their hours and facing burnout.’ 

Another wish is for every woman to have a positive birth experience, and for strong midwifery leadership in every NHS Trust.

Royal College of Midwives Chief executive Gill Walton (pictured) said: ‘Maternity staff are exhausted, demoralised and some are looking for the door. For the safety of every pregnant woman and baby, this can’t be allowed to continue’

It has also called for more funding for training, and for a pay deal for midwives and maternity support workers.

‘During the pandemic almost 40 per cent of midwives were working additional unpaid overtime,’ the RCM added.

Chief executive Gill Walton said: ‘Maternity staff are exhausted, demoralised and some are looking for the door. For the safety of every pregnant woman and baby, this can’t be allowed to continue.’

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