‘Unacceptable to ask midwives to fund their own pay increase through cuts says RCM’

By RCM on 07 December 2017 NHS Unions Midwives Department of Health MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Pay and Agenda For Change NHS Pay Review Body Secretary of State for Health

Today the Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt has written to the Chair NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) to formally commence the 2018-19 pay round for all NHS staff, including midwives.

Commenting, Jon Skewes the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Director for Policy, Employment Relations and Communications said; “The need to fund fair pay for NHS staff is now well overdue. Seven years of pay restraint has seen the value of pay of the average midwife drop by over £6,600 since 2010 and when the RCM submits our evidence to the PRB we will show the drastic impact this has had on midwives and maternity support workers and the impact this has on the service and care they provide.

“England is 3,500 full time midwives short of the numbers needed; a shortage that has lasted over a generation. The most recent workforce figures have shown a collapse in the numbers of EU midwives who are applying to work in the UK due to increasing uncertainty of their working rights post Brexit which threatens to make the shortage even worse. Last year the RCM conducted a survey that found 80% of midwives who are considering leaving midwifery would stay if they had a fair pay rise.

“The RCM together with other NHS trade unions are calling for a pay rise in line with RPI inflation (3.9%)and an additional uplift of £800 to restore the loss of pay over the past seven years of pay restraint.

“We welcome the commitment made by the Chancellor in the Budget to fund a pay rise for midwives, maternity support workers and other NHS staff following an agreement reached in negotiations between employers and the RCM and other NHS trade unions. We think that there are ways the pay structure can be improved and made fairer, but we are clear that it is entirely unacceptable to ask midwives and other NHS staff to fund their own pay increase through cuts to their terms and conditions.  

“Anything less than a fair pay rise at a time of increasing staffing shortages in the NHS is reckless. Existing NHS staff need to be retained in the service and new staff need to be recruited and this will only be done with fair pay that values the incredible work that midwives, maternity support workers and other NHS staff do every day. We cannot afford to see more midwives pushed out of the profession and the shortage increase even further. We need our NHS staff more than ever because ultimately, investment in NHS staff is an investment in high quality, safe NHS cares."


*Pay review body remit letters from Jeremy Hunt 2018 to 2019: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pay-review-body-remit-letters-from-jeremy-hunt-2018-to-2019


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Note to editors


The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.