Midwife giving baby to mother

500 new midwives are set to bolster the NHS workforce

NHS England have announced that up to 500 new midwives from around the world will join maternity teams across the country.

The new staff will join under the NHS’s Maternity Workforce programme as well as its new Maternity International Recruitment Programme and will help support families at 80 NHS Trusts.

This comes as the latest measure NHS England is deploying to help supplement the fraught and stressed NHS workforce and ultimately relieve some of the ongoing backlog problems the NHS is facing.

England’s Chief Midwifery Officer, Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent OBE, said: “Our midwives and maternity service support workers play a hugely vital role in caring for millions of women, babies and families each year, and throughout the pandemic they have worked tirelessly to ensure families have access to the personalised care and support they need.

She added: “Almost from the moment the NHS was set up, internationally educated midwives, such as the Windrush generation, have been an important part of the midwifery family, and I am pleased that up to 500 overseas midwives will be joining the profession over the next 6 months.

She concluded: “Nationally, the NHS is developing a range of strategies to continually improve the care for women and babies, including developing solutions to grow the number of domestically trained midwives, alongside increased international recruitment, where each new recruit will bring a wealth of skills, knowledge and experience, to our services.”

The new staff have been recruitment from a variety of different countries, including Jamaica, Zimbabwe, Italy, India and the Philippines and will reinforce the 22,172-strong midwifery workforce the NHS currently boasts.

Hundreds of midwives are expected to arrive within the next six months, with each new midwife receiving a comprehensive clinical induction and pastoral support.

The new initiative is backed by £4.5m of funding, which is part of a wider scheme to continue to develop maternity services up and down the country. The NHS will also be providing £127m worth of funding over the next year, with a focus on driving ethical recruitment standards and bolstering their repertoire of support services for hospitals and international midwives.

NHS England and NHS Improvement analysis of maternity services during the pandemic showed:

  • NHS maternity services have delivered over 1,500 babies every day since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, which works out at approximately one birth every 54 seconds.
  • During March 2021 midwives provided a first midwife appointment every 41 seconds.
  • 3,239 midwives are reported to have joined NHS hospital and community health services between 31st December 2020 and 31st December 2021.

More information about the new recruitment campaigns can be found here.

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