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Student midwives delivered into debt

More than 90% of final year midwifery students are struggling to find a job, a new survey published by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) reveals. The survey also showed that 58% of midwifery students were concerned about getting a job. The survey comes as the midwifery profession is moving into a new era as an all graduate profession.

The survey also revealed that 81% said the move to degree-only training would have a negative financial impact on them. Ten percent of the students surveyed already had debts of £7,000 to £9,000.

The RCM supports the move to an all-graduate profession but is concerned at the financial impact this move will have on students, and how it may affect recruitment into the profession. However, 31 percent said that the move to an all-graduate profession would improve care to women.

Dame Karlene Davis, general secretary of the RCM, which has 2,981 student members, said: "This survey confirms what we have been saying for some time - that morale amongst student midwives is declining because of their accumulated debts and uncertainty about job prospects. However, the survey also shows that student midwives want to deliver high-quality care and apply their training, but too many are not getting this opportunity. We are campaigning for a £10,000 nonmeans tested bursary for all student midwives."

She added: "While we are delighted that Health Secretary Alan Johnson recently announced a package of measures to recruit 3,400 full-time midwives over the next three years, including former midwives, with a 'golden hello' of £3,000. We have an ageing midwifery population. Our student midwives also need to be welcomed with a 'silver smile' from NHS trust. A one-year job guarantee for newly-qualified midwives would ensure that they are brought and welcomed into the profession and NHS trusts."

Royal College of Midwives