Hospital trust recruits 12 midwives in bid to bridge maternity gap

A hospital trust has recruited 12 midwives in its battle against a national shortage of people wanting to do the job.

The West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Hemel Hempstead, Watford and St Albans hospitals, says fewer people are applying to train for the demanding profession and this area is less attractive to prospective employees because of the high price of housing.

Interim chief nurse Jackie Ardley said: “Like many other NHS trusts, we do currently have a shortage of midwives.

“Unfortunately, there are fewer people currently applying to train as midwives and, as midwifery is a seven-day-a-week profession, trained midwives will often leave to become health visitors so that they can work more sociable hours.

“Our hospitals’ locations on the fringe of London, and the high cost of housing in the area is an additional challenge for us when recruiting and retaining midwives.

“Currently we have 25 permanent midwife positions vacant, from an establishment of 170. However, we are pleased to report that we have recently been successful in recruiting 12 newly qualified and experienced midwives from across the UK and Europe who will be shortly joining the team.”

The trust covers any staff shortages with often more expensive bank and agency staff to ensure that ‘safe’ and ‘high quality care’ is provided to all mothers using the maternity service.