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Huge drop in midwives’ morale amid Ockenden fallout

There has been a dramatic fall in morale among midwives across multiple measures within the NHS staff survey.

Although general morale deteriorated among most staffing groups in 2021, the results for midwives across numerous key measures have worsened to a far greater degree than average.

It comes amid the final Ockenden report into the maternity care scandal at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals Trust, which raised serious concerns about short staffing and people wanting to leave the profession.

The survey results, published on 31 March, suggest 52% of midwives are thinking about leaving their organisation, up 16 percentage points on the previous year. In comparison, the number of general nurses thinking of leaving was 33%, up just 5 percentage points.

Chris Graham, chief executive of healthcare charity the Picker Institute, which coordinates the staff survey, described the midwifery profession as an “outlier” in the 2021 results, in terms of how their experiences compare to other groups and how their responses have changed over time.

“Not only do midwives report worse experiences in many areas, but there is evidence of particularly sharp declines in some key measures,” Mr Graham said. “It appears likely that staffing shortages are a major factor here.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 13 April 2022


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