Received from: RCM
Congress notes that more than 99 per cent of midwives and 77 per cent of NHS staff are women. Women account for 85 per cent of sole carers for children and 65 per cent for older adults. In the midst of the cost-of-living crisis soaring childcare costs reached an average of £936 a month.
Some 67 per cent of respondents to a Royal College of Midwives survey said they might stay or return to work in the NHS if there were greater opportunities to work flexibly. More than a third of those who requested to work flexibly had that request rejected. Most requests were to reduce hours or work set days of the week. Most midwives and maternity support workers work on a rota system where days and hours of work vary, making planning care difficult
Flexible working is key to women accessing and staying in work and to improved work-life balance for all workers.
In addition to an existing shortage of 2,000 midwives in England, for the first time we are seeing a drop in the number of midwives working in the NHS. The latest figures show there are more than 600 fewer midwives compared with twelve months ago.
Heavy workloads due to staffing shortages leads to high levels of stress and exhaustion creating a vicious cycle as many more consider leaving.
Congress calls on the General Council to continue to campaign to make flexible working the default and central to the ability of employers to recruit and retain staff.
Royal College of Midwives