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NUH to visit South Africa to recruit 15 midwives because of maternity staff shortage

A visit to South Africa is planned this month to recruit international midwives, with the aim of offering 15 posts for a summer 2023 start.

A Maternity Staffing Report outlined in Nottingham University Hospitals board papers published ahead of this week’s meeting on 26 January details the staff shortages within the department.

There are currently 26 Midwives in the recruitment pipeline.

In addition to individuals who have been offered jobs and are due to start in the next few months, NUH is anticipating the following new starters;

• 15 midwives from South Africa by autumn 2023

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• 3 midwives as part of international recruitment by end of January 2023

NUH requires 32 midwives to reach full staffing levels.

The CQC undertook an inspection of maternity services at Nottingham City Hospital (NCH) and Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) (from 1st – 4th March 2022) and rated maternity services inadequate.

The CQC report stated that ‘staff deployment, both midwifery and obstetricians, within maternity services at NCH and QMC is impacting the safety of women using triage services.’

The board paper documents read:

‘Our [ NUH ] biggest risk remains staffing availability and the Maternity Improvement Programme Board reviewed the position in detail at its meeting of 9th January.

‘The challenge remains the lack of registered midwives in the pipeline, although there are a number of encouraging developments, including the return of the updated Birthrate Plus workforce planning tool.’

‘This will inform the staffing establishment going forward. The ongoing mitigating actions are detailed below:

• A Recruitment and Retention strategy & action plan is currently out for consultation. This will be underpinned by a Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS) workforce strategy, which was approved in December 2022.

• The proactive use of agency and bank colleagues to mitigate staffing gaps continues.

• The Birthrate + workforce report was received in December 2022 and a separate has
been developed, which outlines the results and recommendations.

• Adverts for Midwives in bands 5 and 6 have been reviewed by an external company, supported by NHS England. This will ensure consistent messaging and promotion of the benefits of working at NUH; the Trust is also liaising with regional peers to benchmark people metrics (vacancy, sickness and turnover).

• The recruitment of international midwives, in a consortium with other East Midlands Trusts, continues. One midwife commenced in post and three are joining in January 2023.

A visit to South Africa is planned (January 2023) to recruit international midwives, with the aim of offering 15 posts for a summer 2023 start (subject to robust recruitment processes).

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