UK is facing a midwife exodus as more than half want to quit as pandemic leaves services ‘on their knees’

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  • Royal College of Midwives survey finds more than half of workers may be leaving the NHS
  • Most said it was because they weren’t able to provide the level of care they would like
  • The college’s chief executive, Gil Walton, described the findings as ‘deeply worrying’

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The UK is facing an ‘exodus’ of midwives, with a survey finding more than half are considering leaving the NHS.

Of the midwives who have quit their jobs, or are planning to do so, the majority said it was because they were not able to give women the level they want.


The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said staff were at ‘breaking point’, with high levels of burnout in the staffing crisis made worse by high illness rates during the pandemic.

RCM surveyed 1,588 midwives and obstetric support workers, and found that 57 percent were considering quitting.

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A survey by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) found that more than half of their staff are considering leaving the NHS (stock photo)

Gil Walton, chief executive officer of the college, said: ‘Every midwife and obstetric support worker goes to work to provide safe, quality care.

‘So many people feel that the lack of staff means they are unable to do so, it is extremely worrying. What these figures suggest is an exodus of midwives, which will leave already struggling services on their knees.

The survey found that 67 percent of midwives and obstetric care workers who had left their profession or planned to do so were unhappy with the quality of care they were able to deliver.

Some 84 per cent were not happy with the staffing level.

Mrs Walton said: ‘Not a day goes by when we don’t hear about maternity service being temporarily closed, services suspended or women being sent to other units because there aren’t enough midwives.

‘This cannot continue because we know it compromises safety and means women do not always get the safe positive pregnancy and birth experience they need.’

An NHS spokesman said: ‘The NHS has invested £95.6 million in maternity services this year, providing funding for 1,200 new roles for midwifery teams, more training and leadership programmes, and in every trust There has been an increase in pastoral, learning and career development support for midwives. ‘


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