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Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 118631, tabled on 4 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the year-on-year fall in the number of midwives employed by the NHS in England.

Answered on

15 March 2022

As of November 2021, there are 22,391 full time equivalent midwives working in National Health Service trusts and clinical commissioning groups in England, an increase of 2,642 or 13.4% since November 2010. Data from NHS Digital shows that between November 2010 and November 2020 there was a year on year rise in the number of midwives employed by the NHS in England. There was a decrease of 331 midwives employed by the NHS between November 2020 and November 2021. The Department recognises the challenges of dealing with the pandemic and the demands placed on the NHS workforce.

Through the NHS People Plan, we have invested £43 million in mental health support for staff. This includes a wellbeing guardian role to ensure board level scrutiny of staff health and wellbeing; a focus on healthy working environments and safe spaces for staff to rest and recuperate; and 40 mental health hubs providing outreach and assessment services to help frontline staff receive rapid access to evidence based mental health services.

The People Recovery Task Force is developing a framework for the NHS to make full use of the annual leave policy; providing ongoing physical and mental health support; retaining staff who have returned to the NHS; allowing time for leaders and teams to reflect on the experiences of the pandemic; and invest in wellbeing conversations and a strong role for wellbeing guardians.