Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Government confirms not increasing midwife recruitment target

  • 1 Comment

The government has confirmed it has not set a target to increase midwife numbers by 3,000, despite a promise to do so by prime minister David Cameron in the run up to the election last year.

The Department of Health told Nursing Times there were a “record” 2,493 midwives in training this year but said it has yet to decide how many would need to be recruited and trained in total to make up the current shortfall.

A DH spokeswoman said: “We do need more midwives, but, rather than picking random numbers, our policy will be based on evidence. The government is committed to training the numbers of midwives we need to meet the demands arising from the birth rate.”

The DH’s clarification to Nursing Times follows confusion over apparently conflicting statements by health secretary Andrew Lansley and the NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson.

Sir David told the Commons public accounts committee on 18 January that the NHS had too few midwives, and put the shortage at 4,500 - a statement welcomed by the Royal College of Midwives.

RCM general secretary Cathy Warwick said: “Our analysis is that the NHS chief executive is exactly right about the deep and profound shortage of midwives.”

However, a week later, on 25 January, Mr Lansley told the Commons: “I do not wish to embarrass the chief executive of the NHS but actually, he told me he made an error - he was referring to health visitors, not midwives.”

But Labour shadow health minister Diane Abbott said Mr Lansley was “clearly trying to cover up David Cameron’s broken promise to increase the number of midwives by 3,000”.

She added: “What else are they covering up about their plans for our health system in this country? I call on Mr Lansley to clarify his position, and whether or not the House [of Commons] has been misled.”

Writing in The Sun in January last year, Mr Cameron said: “We are going to make our midwives’ lives a lot easier… we will increase the number of midwives by 3,000.”

Do you want your voice to be heard? Make a difference today and sign our ‘seat on the board’ petition to get nurses actively involved in the new commissioning consortia.


  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • I think it is disgusting that it is not going to increase midwives they are already strapped and working so hard, does there have to be problems with deliveries before government acknowledges there is a huge problem and not enough midwives.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.