In July 2022 the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) called on the Government to urgently act to stop England’s maternity services from “spiraling into an ever-worsening crisis”. A Health and Social Care Select Committee Expert Panel’s report showed a serious shortage of midwives and immense pressures on England’s maternity services. The report also came shortly after the government announced a 4 per cent pay increase for midwives and maternity support workers.
According to the RCM, England has a shortage of 2,000 midwives, with figures showing there were 600 less midwives in April 2022 in comparison to the previous year. England has seen a decade and more of serious midwife shortages with the situation worsening on a monthly basis.
Consequently, staff morale is at an all-time low as midwives face a raft of demands to evidence the quality and safety of the care they deliver. Quite literally, midwives are leaving the profession despite their passion and commitment for their chosen vocation, and many of those considering midwifery as a future career are being put off due to damaging media statements like “ Midwives feeling burnt out and undervalued.”. Without a stable and sufficiently staffed workforce, safety and quality of care is compromised and mistakes are made – as evidenced in the Ockenden report.