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Thousands more nurses and midwives join NHS

In under a year an extra 6,635 frontline clinical staff have joined the NHS workforce, latest statistics show.

The NHS workforce census 2007 has revealed a continuous upward trend in clinical staff numbers since 1998.

Another 1,262 nurses have joined the NHS, increasing the total to 400,000, which is 20% more than in 1998.

The NHS has also recruited 624 more midwives, and say they are well on their way to recruiting an extra 1,000 by 2009.

Health Minister Ann Keen said: "Thanks to yet another year of record investment, we have 6,625 more clinical staff working on the frontlines of the NHS.

"Following a period of unprecedented growth in the NHS workforce, our focus has now shifted from increasing capacity to improving quality. What matters to patients is that the right staff are in place to deliver personalised services to the highest standard."

However, the Royal College of Midwives say despite this increase, there are still not enough NHS midwives in the NHS.

Louise Silverton, deputy general secretary of the royal college of midwives, said: "The slight increase in the number of midwives is welcome, but it trails in the wake of the rapidly rising birthrate which is swamping midwives and affecting the quality of care they can give.

"The government is committed to bringing 4,000 extra midwives into the NHS by 2012, and we want to see recruitment of midwives by Trusts treated as a priority and accelerated and sustained.

"Only by doing this will the quality of care to women and their babies improve."

Department of Health

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"Of course the NHS needs more midwives; the NHS generally needs more quality nurses full stop. Not this scrabble to get nurses from abroad who very often are using the UK as a stepping stone to enter the USA or Australia, and who quickly become jaded with the real situation on the ground in the UK. The Government has put many experienced nurses and midwives out of work (although they deny it) by closing small units, small hospitals and ending community posts and concentrating on forcing everyone into over subscribed and already struggling large urban hospitals where the staff already insitu are struggling to cope as it is. To keep costs down these bigger hospitals very often have junior and less qualified staff and often leave the service users with a sense that they have not had the best quality service. Many midwives were lost when the Government - in their "wisdom" - closed community hospitals and smaller units; and this coupled with the enormous influx of foreigners is stretching our maternity services to breaking point and causing understandable resentment for the indiginous population. It's about time the Government got its act together and started to listen to the professionals on the ground before we are faced with a catastrophe." - Name and address supplied