Election is no excuse to delay already overdue pay rise says RCM

By  Election is no excuse to delay already overdue pay rise says RCM on 28 May 2024 NHS Pay Review Body Pay Pay and Agenda For Change RCM RCM Member RCM Wales RCM Branches Welsh Government Government NHS Staff Staffing Levels Midwifery Midwives MSWs - Maternity Support Workers

A General Election is no excuse to delay the already overdue pay rise hardworking midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) need and deserve. That’s the message from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) in a letter to Victoria Atkins, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

The RCM has written to the Secretary of State highlighting its frustration and anger of its members as they wait for another year in limbo when it comes to their pay.

RCM members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, where pay is decided by the NHS Pay Review Body, were due their pay rise almost two months ago on 1 April. The RCM says any further delays will further erode the morale of midwives and MSWs.

Moreover, the RCM has said that paying staff fairly and valuing the skilled work they do is an important part of the solution to the maternity staffing crisis. 

Commenting, the RCM’s General Secretary, Gill Walton, said:

“We want to be absolutely clear that a General Election is no excuse to delay this type of Government business. Pay is a crucial lever in retaining staff and right now, with the staffing retention issues blighting maternity services, the Government should be doing all it can to hold on to midwives. Our members have told the RCM in recent surveys that pay is one of the top reasons they are considering leaving midwifery or have already left the profession. Despite this, we yet again find the Government dragging its heels when it comes to sorting out pay for midwives and MSWs. I cannot stress enough how demoralising this is. Right now, week in week out, our members are working thousands of hours of overtime for no additional pay while they are left in limbo a decision that should have been made months ago.”

Findings published by the RCM in April revealed that during one week in March this year, midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) in England, worked 118,181 extra unpaid hours to keep services running safely, an increase of almost a fifth (18%) on the same poll undertaken last year.

Two-thirds (66%) of respondents to this poll considered leaving their role as midwife or MSW in the past year. This is a worrying upward trend as intention to leave in a similar poll in 2021 was significantly lower (57%).

Gill added:

It’s this type of inaction by the Government that has midwives questioning if their hard work and commitment to midwifery is even valued. It’s why so many midwives are eyeing the door and why the NHS is struggling to retain midwifery staff. We have highlighted this in our letter to the Secretary of State and have also urged the Government to publish the Pay Review Body’s (PRB) recommendations as soon as they have them and without further delay.”



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The Royal College of Midwives (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 | A professional organisation and trade union dedicated to serving the whole midwifery team