Vacant midwife positions also rose, from 2.1 to 3.4 per cent. Of those, 1 per cent were long-term vacancies, up from 0.8 per cent. The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has previously warned that England already needs an extra 5,000 midwives to provide an acceptable level of care.
Cathy Warwick, general secretary of the RCM, said: “The fact that midwifery vacancies have increased is a worry, especially as birth rates are rising significantly, and showing no sign of slowing down.”
She added: “The overall increase in vacancy rates may suggest there are more midwifery jobs available but employers are struggling to fill them.
“It could also mean that more midwives are leaving a service suffering from very heavy workloads.”
It really says something about the state of midwifery when even a recession cannot either improve retention or encourage midwives to return to the profession.
I talk to my colleagues and not one of them is happy with how things are at the moment. The main gripes are too many changes; unrealistic expectations by both managers and media; lack of support and the deluge of paperwork. The joy of the job is entirely eclipsed by the stressors and since enthusiasm and a positive outlook are integral to midwifery this is can only be viewed as hugely worrying.