Midwives’ Fears Over Care Sector

A SURVEY published today has revealed that the quality of maternity care, overstretched staffing levels and low pay are the issues that most concern midwives.

The UK-wide poll by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) also showed that respondents feel that working today as a midwife is more challenging than it was five years ago.

Dame Karlene Davis, general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, said:ADVERTISEMENT”Midwives’ pay is not keeping pace with prices, staff numbers are not keeping pace with the birthrate, and investment is not keeping pace with the demands on the service.

“The maternity care services for all women could, and should, be so much better. We acknowledge that most women are happy with the service they get, but too many are unsatisfied and frustrated.”

Over two-thirds of midwives cited pay as a key issue and the increasing demands on midwives’ time was reflected in the amount of overtime worked for respondents.

Nearly three-quarters said that they had worked up to 10 extra hours a week. Over 40 per cent stated that they had not received compensation in either time off or extra pay for their overtime with almost the same number receiving time off for additional hours worked.

The survey showed that a “retirement time-bomb” is imminent with nearly half, 46 per cent, of midwives set to retire within 10 years. The RCM has estimated that at least 5,000 more midwives are needed to make the Government’s maternity plans achievable.