THE Royal College of Midwives (RCM) yesterday launched its ‘Fair Pay Overdue’ campaign, demanding an end to the public sector pay cap and a fully funded pay rise for midwives, maternity support workers and other NHS staff.
The launch came as the RCM’s Activists Conference took place in Bristol. The RCM is calling for an end to pay restraint in the NHS and an end to the public sector pay cap that restricts the recommendations that the NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) can make.
The RCM is also calling for a fully funded pay award that reflects the increased cost of living, and the real terms loss of earnings that midwives, maternity support workers and other NHS staff have suffered since 2010. Government pay freezes and pay restraint has seen the value of pay of the average midwife drop by over £6,000 since 2010. With inflation increasing rapidly the value of pay is set to drop even further.
England is 3,500 full time midwives short of the numbers needed; a shortage that has lasted over a generation. Figures published over the last few weeks have shown a collapse in the numbers of EU midwives who are applying to work in the UK.
This is combined with the number of students applying to study midwifery significantly dropping this year because of the introduction of tuition fees and removal of the bursary. A RCM survey published last year found that 80% of midwives who were considering leaving the NHS would be persuaded to stay if they had a fair pay rise.
Jon Skewes, Director for Policy, Employment Relations and Communications at the College of Midwives, said: ‘The government must commit to fully fund a real terms pay increase for midwives and NHS staff. Anything less will fundamentally damage employment relations in the NHS and will add to the already rock-bottom NHS morale.
‘It will further push midwives out of the profession at a time when we already have a shortage of midwives that is getting worse. We need our NHS staff more than ever because ultimately, investment in NHS staff is an investment in high quality, safe NHS care.’