Released on: 12 July 2023

Responding to the State of Maternity Services in England report, Angela McConville, Chief Executive at NCT, said:   

“The NHS maternity workforce in England is facing the brunt of systemic, long-term underinvestment in recruiting and retaining experienced staff and as a result parents aren’t always getting the safe, personalised and compassionate care they deserve.  

“The needs of pregnant women have changed considerably in recent years. Today, women giving birth are older, more likely to be obese and may need longer care due to complications, adding to the pressures midwives are already facing.  

“Midwives and maternity staff are overworked, underpaid and burnt out and a staggering number are leaving the profession every year. Pregnant women are experiencing first-hand, the consequences of unsafe staffing levels, including lack of continuity or compassion and dangerous delays in essential care, particularly in the postnatal period.  

“Although the expansion of recruitment through routes such as midwifery apprenticeships is encouraging, without a strong focus on retention and improving working conditions, the cycle of staffing shortages will continue to repeat.  

“The government must recognise the increasing demands on the workforce and place equal weight on retaining and attracting midwives to ensure that parents don’t pay the price when care falls short.  

“As a charity which supports people as they become parents, we will play our part to support and protect the maternity workforce. Through our own training and education programmes, we are proud to provide diverse, community-based routes to train perinatal practitioners to work with new and expectant parents.” 

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