Half of student midwives consider quitting over spiralling student debts

The RCM has described the situation as ‘simply unacceptable’.

Chloe Dawson
24 September 2019
midwifery students

The RCM claims some student midwives graduate with debts totalling £100,000.

‘Almost half of student midwives have considered leaving their midwifery courses due to financial pressures and debt’ that’s according to the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) who today have published the results of a new student midwife survey.

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The RCM has described the findings as ‘worrying’ for the future of the midwifery profession as their Annual Conference gets underway in Manchester.

The survey of the RCM’s student membership – asked questions around their current financial situation, levels of debt accrued to become a midwife and the impact of the removal of the NHS bursary in England.

£41,000 is the average amount of debt a student midwife expects to graduate with, but the RCM found some students with debts totalling £100,000.

Only adding to the financial burden, around half of students have their application for assistance with childcare rejected and over one-third with caring responsibilities get no financial support.

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‘Simply unacceptable’.

Gill Walton General Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives said; “To burden student midwives with large amounts of debt that they will struggle to pay with a modest NHS salary is unjust and frankly just wrong.

“Furthermore it’s deterring potentially great students from considering a career in midwifery. This is particularly worrying given the large shortage of midwives in England and sits at odds with the Government’s commitment to bring 3,000 more midwives into the NHS. 

“Our student midwife members have told us they worry so much about money and debt that it is affecting their studies on a day to day basis and this is simply unacceptable at a time in their lives when they should be relatively care free and able to concentrate on their studies. 

Adding; “this is why I am repeating the RCM’s call for this Government to give our student midwives their bursaries back, so that we can attract more not fewer people into the profession. 

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“The Government should be doing all it can to ensure that NHS maternity services right across the UK are future proofed, ensuring there are enough midwives to deliver safe high quality care to women and their babies.”

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