[2023] Motion 52 Working hours and an end to unpaid overtime for midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs)

Composited motion

Received from:

Staffing shortages in maternity services are chronic and longstanding, the NHS in England is short of 2,500 midwives. The impact of these shortages are felt by midwives and MSWs on a daily basis.

A survey by the RCM in March found that Midwives and MSWs are working 100,000 unpaid hours a week to prop up maternity services. 74 per cent face unrealistic time pressures and workloads and a majority feel exhausted or burnt out at the end of their shift.

In addition to these extra unpaid hours to fill gaps in rotas employers are increasingly imposing on-call systems on staff on their days off to cover for shortages. This is forced overtime. It is detrimental to the health, safety and well- being of staff, and will ultimately exacerbate the staffing crisis by forcing more maternity workers out of the profession.

The blame for the workforce crisis lies squarely at the feet of government. The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan contains commitments around retention of staff including flexible working and health and well-being support but urgent action is required.

Congress calls for:

i. further investment in NHS retention measures that support flexible working and the health and safety of staff

ii. fair pay for the extra hours worked in the NHS

iii. an end to forced overtime through the inappropriate use of on-call systems.

Royal College of Midwives