New midwives recruited to ease staffing shortage at Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury Hospitals

A cohort of 23 new midwives will start work at three local hospitals within the next fortnight, easing the burden on under-pressure maternity units.

Friday, 23rd August 2019, 9:21 am
Updated Friday, 23rd August 2019, 10:21 am
Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Pontefract and Dewsbury Hospitals, as well as Pinderfields in Wakefield, announced on Thursday that they'd recruited a batch of newly-trained midwives, which will help address a seasonal shortage of maternity staff.

The trust had 17 vacancies before the recruitment drive, and have been praised for attracting more graduates than expected, amid a nationwide shortage of midwives.

Speaking at a health scrutiny meeting in Wakefield, Alison Grundy, the trust's director of operations for women and children, said the organisation was "very pleased" with the development.

A total of 10 births have taken place at Pontefract Hospital since it moved to an on-demand service.

She said: "They will start work at the beginning of September.

"It's not an immediate solution because we always support our newly qualified midwives for a period of nine months after they start.

"We were oversubscribed and that's a real plus for our service that people want to come and work for us."

Hospitals have traditionally only been able to recruit midwives en masse in September, when aspiring students have completed their pre-work training.

The future of Pontefract Hospital's maternity unit is currently under review.

This has presented problems for the NHS, when staff depart over the course of the following 12 months.

Pontefract Hospital's maternity unit had to close for several weeks last year because of the issue, and it is currently operating an on demand service at evenings and weekends.

But that might now be set to change.

Ms Grundy said: "History tells us that some midwives coming to the end of their nine-month apprenticeships do choose to move on, so our numbers are traditionally depleted around this time.

Dewsbury Hospital

"We're not unique in that. It happens right across the patch.

"But we are quite excited that we are moving towards a programme where we will be able to recruit midwives twice a year, so it will help even out that dip that we see every summer."

Councillor Betty Rhodes, the chair of Wakefield's health overview and scrutiny committee, said: "I'm really pleased that this has happened here.

"When you see the picture nationally, I'm very proud of the work the trust has done to get these new midwives to come to Wakefield."

Local Democracy Reporting Service