NHS midwife

Midwifery shortage in Scotland: RCM calls for affordable childcare to avoid workforce crisis

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has outlined that the maternity workforce faces enormous challenges returning to the NHS due to a lack of flexible and accessible childcare options.

According to the RCM, three in five (60%) midwives have to work part time because they lack the appropriate childcare.

In turn, this is causing a significant turnover of NHS midwives which is compounded by the struggle to recruit new people into the profession.

One of the main reasons given for leaving is because midwives do not have access to childcare that meets their needs, according to the RCM.

Once they have left, these midwives leave a huge gap in skillsets and experience.

The RCM’s director for Scotland, Jaki Lambert, said: “Over the long term this in untenable and there needs to be incentives in place to make it easier for midwives to work more flexibly.”

A motion calling on the Scottish Government to address the lack of childcare for midwives was adopted at this week’s Scottish Trade Union Congress.

Jaki added: “One thing the Scottish Government could do now to make a huge difference is to give much more help for childcare to midwives and all healthcare professionals.

“An obvious way to do this is to make sure they have affordable childcare.”

In full, the RCM is campaigning for:

  • Childcare in Scotland to be accessible, affordable and available – including wraparound care
  • Reduced/support costs and improved access to safe and flexible childcare
  • Acknowledgement of the role of grandparents in allowing people to get back to work
  • Increased access to flexible working – especially for low paid workers

National Health Executive is hosting an online conference next week, where leaders from academia and the private sector will join NHS experts to discuss everything from recruitment and training, all the way to employee benefits, mental wellbeing, and workforce management.

Image credit: iStock

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NHE May/June 2024

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