Wigan Infirmary battles midwife arrears

Maternity staff shortage
Maternity staff shortage
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Wigan Infirmary says it is not facing any “significant” difficulties in midwifery recruitment despite a shortage in maternity staffing.

Health bosses have warned the Government that the country is lacking thousands of midwifery staff and that greater shortages can be expected due to the removal of the midwifery bursary.

A report published earlier this year by the Health and Social Committee revealed that between 2016 and 2017, around 29,000 nurses and midwives left the profession, leaving huge gaps in staffing across the country.

However Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust which operates the hospital, says that it has experienced no “significant” difficulties in recruitment and will continue to review midwifery staffing levels.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “At WWL we currently only have 1.92 whole time equivalent (WTE) permanent vacancies against our current funded establishment.

“All vacancies within midwifery have been recruited to and these midwives are in the HR recruitment stage of appointment. There are 114.97 WTE midwives employed within the trust including head of maternity, matrons, specialised midwives and governance lead.

“This equates to 106.96WTE without the senior managers and specialist midwives. A recent staffing review has been undertaken that has identified the requirement for 5.36WTE midwives within the maternity service.

“A recruitment process will now be commenced in order to fill these new positions.”

This statement comes just weeks after Care Quality Commission inspectors released a report highlighting concerns of maternity staff numbers.

The report said: “The service did not always have adequate medical and midwifery staffing levels to keep women and babies safe from avoidable harm and abuse and to provide the right care and treatment.”

Factors such as workload pressures, poor access to continuing professional development, a sense of not feeling valued, ongoing pay restraint and the impact of Brexit, have all been cited by the report as potential reasons for the mass exodus. However, despite the ongoing crisis, WWL has insisted that the trust is on top of its recruitment.