Up to 500 new midwives from around the world are set to join maternity teams across the country under a new NHS England initiative.
As part of the NHS’s Maternity Workforce programme and its new Maternity International Recruitment Programme, midwives have been recruited from various countries, including Jamaica, Zimbabwe, Italy, India and the Philippines and will support mums, babies and families at 80 NHS trusts.
NHS Chief Midwifery Officer for the NHS in England, Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, has welcomed the new recruits and praised her fellow midwives and support workers in maternity services around the country for their tireless work supporting new and expectant families throughout the covid-19 pandemic.
England’s Chief Midwifery Officer, Professor Dunkley-Bent OBE, said: “Our midwives and maternity service support workers play a hugely vital role in caring for millions of women, babies and families each year, and throughout the pandemic they have worked tirelessly to ensure families have access to the personalised care and support they need.
“Almost from the moment the NHS was set up, internationally educated midwives, such as the Windrush generation, have been an important part of the midwifery family, and I am pleased that up to 500 overseas midwives will be joining the profession over the next 6 months.
“Nationally, the NHS is developing a range of strategies to continually improve the care for women and babies, including developing solutions to grow the number of domestically trained midwives, alongside increased international recruitment, where each new recruit bring a wealth of skills, knowledge and experience, to our services.
“We want the NHS to be the safest place in the world to give birth and these new international midwives will help us to do this, so I would like to express my gratitude and welcome them to the team.”
The new midwives will be joining the NHS’s 22,172 strong midwifery workforce at different stages. Over 30 midwives have arrived since December 2021 with hundreds more expected over the next six months.
Each new midwife will receive a comprehensive clinical induction and pastoral support. They will then move onto delivering care and support for women and babies in their trust.
The programme builds on NHS England and NHS Improvement current international nursing recruitment programme, which has recruited 21,000 nurses between September 2019 and March 2021.
Among the new international midwives is T’Asia Dallas. Originally from Jamaica, Ms Dallas has joined Cambridge University Hospitals- Rosie Maternity Hospital.
Ms Dallas, said “The values and number of opportunities that the NHS has and offers is appealing and there is always upward mobility for midwives. I’ve opted to live and work in the UK to improve my skills in midwifery practice and broaden my experience
“I chose to become a Midwife because I wanted to be an instrumental tool in integrating healthy women and children into the society. Healthy women and children create healthy families and builds a strong society, allowing people to reach their full positive potential.”
NHS chiefs have provided £4.5 million in funding to support the new initiative, which is part of the health service’s wider ongoing programme to drive improvements in maternity services.
The NHS is also providing £127 million in new funding for maternity services across England over the next year, to help ensure safer and more personalised care for women, babies and families and to address the issues raised by the Ockenden Review.
Key priorities for the NHS’s programme include conducting ethical recruitment and offering a range of support measures to hospitals and international midwives.
Analysis of topical issues around NHS maternity services in England by NHS England and NHS Improvement during Covid-19 shows:
- NHS maternity services have delivered over 1,500 babies every day since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, which works out at approximately one birth every 54 seconds
- During March 2021 midwives provided a first midwife appointment every 41 seconds
- 3,239 midwives are reported to have joined NHS hospital and community health services between 31st December 2020 and 31st December 2021.
Under the NHS Long Term Plan, 42 Local Maternity Systems across the country are bringing together local health organisations, clinicians, and families to make sure maternity services meet the needs of their communities, and therefore deliver continued improvements in outcomes and experiences.
Anyone interested in becoming a midwife can go online and search NHS careers to find out more.