The government announced recently that more than 3,ooo places on midwifery training courses will be created over the next four years. There also been the ‘promise’ to mothers that they will be seen by the same midwife throughout labour, pregnancy and birth by 2021.
It’s an admirable aim, and one that would vastly improve the care women receive, but without the proper funding, it will remain an empty pledge that is quickly forgotten.
It’s easy to assume that more midwife places will solve a lot of the problems within current maternity services in the UK, but it’s a sweeping gesture that covers up the wider issues.
The focus should be on retention of midwives as well as encouraging and supporting people into the profession.
With the abolition of bursaries, this has put many people off applying in the first place. Not only will students be saddled with debt, but with training on the job a major part of any nursing qualification, there is also little chance to earn money through other work whilst studying.
The lack of funding within the NHS means the job has become increasingly stressful and exhausting, with experienced midwives forced to quit the job, losing important knowledge and vital legacy positions.
So increasing numbers alone is like adding another storey to a building without adjusting the foundations – it will very quickly collapse despite best efforts…
Image from Pixabay