UK Health Secretary Alan Johnson announced a package of measures to recruit an extra 4,000 midwives to the NHS over the next three years. During a visit to Royal Victoria Infirmary Maternity Unit in Newcastle, the Health Secretary will outline plans to give former midwives a ‘golden hello’ worth up to ?3,000 to help them return to work after a break in service.
The UK Department of Health and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) will launch a Return to Practice campaign in the summer, with incentives including free training, support with childcare and travel costs plus a grant of up to ?1,500. The total value of the package will be around ?3,000.
Alan Johnson said:
“The number of births in England is rising. To keep pace with this increase and to improve the quality of care to mothers, we will recruit an additional 1000 midwives on our wards and in our communities by 2009, rising to around 4000 by 2012.
“Many of these extra midwives will be new to the profession, but there are also former midwives whose expertise could be brought back to the NHS given the right support. This is why we will make up to ?3000 worth of support available to each returning midwife, providing free training and financial support while they study.
“In January I announced extra funding of ?330m over three years for maternity services. Trusts will have access to this additional money from April to invest in expanding the workforce.”
Dame Karlene Davis, General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, said:
“I welcome Alan Johnson’s announcement which represents a recognition of the need to increase midwifery numbers. The RCM will wish to see a sustained programme of support for midwives from the Government. We will continue to work with the Government and the NHS to achieve this.
“This is a significant step on the road to delivering on Maternity Matters, the Government’s blue-print for maternity services, and providing a quality service for women, their babies and families.”
Source: Department of Health, UK, UK