Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

When Hard Labour Brings Its Rewards; Midwives Are Now More in Demand Than Ever. So What Does This Caring Career Take?

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

When Hard Labour Brings Its Rewards; Midwives Are Now More in Demand Than Ever. So What Does This Caring Career Take?

Article excerpt

WITH the Government committed to offering women a choice of where they can give

birth and guaranteeing that every woman will be supported by the same midwife throughout her pregnancy by 2009, the need to recruit and reward an army of new midwives in London and the South-East has never been greater.

To increase the number of women able to opt for home births and to see a midwife directly instead of a GP, experts predict there will need to be a huge expansion of services and 3,000 extra midwives recruited nationally.

The Royal College of Midwives maintains that more effective planning is essential if maternity services are to keep pace. According to Dame Karlene Davis, general secretary of The Royal College of Midwives: "Action is needed by the Government to adequately resource maternity services, especially when the number of NHS midwives fell at the last count.

Newly qualified midwives are not getting jobs because of the [NHS financial] deficits, midwifery training commissions are dropping and antenatal classes and postnatal care are being cut or reduced." She adds: "Every woman has the right to a caring and safe birth in a place of her choice. This goal is pie in the sky as long as the service depends on too few midwives." Despite the challenging climate within the NHS, midwife Mavis Machirori has gained much satisfaction and fulfilment from her work at StMary's NHS Trust in Paddington since she qualified a year ago.

Originally from Zimbabwe, where she graduated with a degree in economics, Machirori, 26, came to the UK four years ago when her grandmother suggested she retrain as a nurse. "But after doing some research I decided to train as a midwife," shesays.

"It's a three-year degree course: in the first year I covered the relevant biology and science and studied normal delivery. In the second year I studied abnormal deliveries and in the third year I was linked to a practising midwife who acted as a mentor.

You work alongside them you need the experience of being with women and caring for them. Before qualifying, a student midwife needs to be present at 40 normal deliveries." A newly qualified midwife's salary starts at [pounds sterling]19,166 per year excluding payment for unsocial hours and on-call rota, while a consultant midwife can earn [pounds sterling]60,000. …

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