Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Midwifery recruitment drive in UK

The shortage of midwives isn't just a problem in New Zealand. In the UK, non-practicing midwives are being offered ₤3000 to go back into practice.

But is it enough to throw money at midwives and health professionals to encourage them to stay working in the health service or are retention problems more complex than that? What about the influences of work patterns and flexibility, work load and practices, sustainability, litigation, stress, job satisfaction and environmental culture - all very important influences on a midwife's employment choices.

Considering the average age of a midwife is 45-50, the global health service is going to have a very serious problem on its hands in 10 years when many midwives start to retire.

Meanwhile... ₤3000 in the bank...tempting?! Might have to dust off my UK registration certificate!

Image: 'moneybags'


shauneboy said...

one angle midwives could take to the workload shortage is that we have never been more sought after - so does that leave us in a strong bargaining position? Clearly the British govt is prepared to throw a bit of money at the profession - why not take advantage of the moment to secure better working conditions for this group of women workers? There could be a flow on effect to the women we serve and to other women dominated professions. Maybe we need to recognise the potential of this shortage?

Anonymous said...

i hear of many german midwifes that leave for the uk and ireland, although the work conditions, at least in hospitals, seems to be worse than here. it's interesting as i always thought that there were very few midwifes trained here in germany, at least in relation to the amount of interest of young (and not so young) women.
the university of osnabrueck is taking up a master course of studies for midwifery next year and this will leave out even more of them, as you need "abitur" (kinda like a-levels) to study at the university...

Sarah Stewart said...

Rae: That is an interesting comment, and it makes me think about how well we are represented as far as industrial relations is concerned. We are in a very powerful position. So why don't we assert ourselves more to ensure working conditions suit us?

Mammal: we require the equivalent of a'levels' to enter our undergraduate midwifery degree. Here, the masters course is a post-graduate qualification.

shauneboy said...

I think we have quite a lot of industrial power at present - it would take focussed, dedicated organisation and effort to maximise this. Nothing is ever gifted - we will have to go get it.
I think this could use a profile at present.

Sarah Stewart said...

Couldn't agree more, Rae.

Unknown said...

i am currently looking into becoming a midwife as it has been a passion of mine for many years now but i just cant afford it and even if i could i dont know if i will ever be able to become a full working one .
i hope so as id give anything to get my career started off

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Tracey

Thanks for dropping me a line. Yes, I know midwifery education is very expensive because of the clinical element. It is difficult, especially when you have a family to support as well. But in the end, I guess you have to look at the big picture - what are you going to do in the long term? I look at education as a financial investment, much as the same way as buying a house is one. Whilst it is expensive in the short term, over the years, you will get your money back because you have a professional career that pays a reasonable wage. And one thing I can guarantee, you'll never be without work, be that full time or part time.

My advice would be to talk to midwifery educators to find out how flexible the program can be to fit your individual needs eg could you study part time. Also, investigate funding sources like scholarships. You'd be surprised how community funds are out there to support wormn returning to work/study.

Good luck, Tracey, and I hope your dream comes true.