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Midwife Shortages and Temporary Staffing cause significant rise in the cost of Maternity Units

A study reported by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) last week has highlighted a worrying increase in the amount of money spent by the NHS in 98% of Maternity Units across the UK. The rise in spending has been caused as a result of a shortage of Midwives and the need to fill the gap by using temporary staffing arrangements such as agencies, bank contracts and overtime. 

In July, my colleague, Liz, blogged about the number of Nurses and Midwives leaving the profession and this study affirms her worry that Hospitals would be forced to fill the gap with temporary staff.

The estimated amount of money spent on these arrangements in 2016 is reportedly almost £100 million pounds. This figure is staggering given the wide spread lack of resource across the NHS and the various comprehensive healthcare provisions which are no longer available due to budget cuts.  

It is worrying to consider the long term effect that this level of spending will have on an NHS which is already stretched to the limit. It is no longer uncommon to see patients experience significant delays when waiting for routine surgery or for an appointment to see their specialist and I am concerned that this additional financial pressure can only make things worse.

Something clearly needs to be done to address the volume of doctors, nurses and midwives leaving the NHS and to reduce the current level of spending before patient safety is affected and the standard of care provided is compromised. The NHS is an invaluable part of our society and I can only hope that steps are taken to resolve these issues before it is pushed into crisis.

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