The WI has been campaigning since 2012 for more midwives to meet chronic shortages in maternity services. Find out more about the campaign below.
There are chronic shortages of midwives. The NFWI calls on the Government to increase investment in the training, employment, and retention of midwives in England and Wales to ensure services are adequately resourced and are able to deliver a high standard of care.
Proposed by Horwich WI, Lancashire Federation
March 2018: The NFWI welcomes the government’s announcement that it will create 3,000 new training places for midwives in England over four years. It was also announced that the majority of women will receive care from the same midwives throughout their pregnancy, labour and birth by 2021.
March 2017: The Welsh government announces that it has taken up the recommendation of the NFWI’s 2017 Support Overdue (2017) report to prioritise maternity staff planning and make sure there are enough midwives in training.
January 2017: The NFWI publishes its second report into women’s experiences of maternity services. Support Overdue (2017) found widespread, clinically unsafe conditions in labour wards across the country. Download the full report.
January 2017: The NFWI contributes supplementary evidence to the Health Select Committee for their second hearing on the implementation of the National Maternity Review. WI members across the country take part in a letter writing action, encouraging their MPs to share Support Overdue with the Department of Health.
June 2016: The NFWI contributes evidence to the Health Select Committee’s maternity services inquiry. NFWI research is discussed during the evidence session hearing.
February 2016: NHS England publishes its National Maternity Review, citing NFWI research. The NFWI contributed to the evidence used in the review. The review recommends wide-ranging changes to how maternity services should be organised and how midwives will deliver care moving forward.
May 2015: As part of the WI’s centenary celebrations, the NFWI publishes Looking Back, a historical overview of WI members’ experiences of maternity care from the 1950s until today.
February 2015: The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) publishes the first ever guidance for safe staffing in maternity settings.
October 2014: The NFWI meets with Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, to discuss the campaign and the concerns of the NFWI.
October 2014: In conjunction with the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and baby charity Bliss, the NFWI hosts breakfast briefing events at Labour and Conservative party conferences to discuss the findings of our research and push for increased investment in maternity services.
February 2014: NICE is commissioned by the NHS to issue the first-ever safe staffing guidance for midwifery settings. The NFWI contributes evidence to NICE to help inform their conclusions.
October 2013: Then Chair of NFWI Public Affairs Marylyn Haines Evans meets with the then Minister of Health Dr Dan Poulter and presents a petition signed by 30,000 WI members demanding action for more midwives.
July 2013: The NFWI announces the winner of the More Midwives photography competition.
May 2013: The NFWI publishes a major report examining the experiences of 5,500 women who gave birth in England or Wales between 2007 and 2012. Support Overdue (2013) helps to galvanise a national conversation about the current failures in the maternity service and highlights the desperate need for more midwives. Members and the Chair of the NFWI appear on national media outlets to publicise the report’s findings.
3 May 2013: Members across the country mark International Day of the Midwife. They meet with their elected officials and discuss their concerns about maternity care.
August 2012: Members across over 6,000 individual WIs receive campaign briefing information from the NFWI and start to plan how they are going to make a difference in their local communities and nationally.
June 2012: With a 96% majority, members at the NFWI Annual Meeting pass a resolution calling for an end to the shortage of midwives.
NFWI news & events
Contact the NFWI
- Phone: 020 7371 9300
- Open hours: 9am–5pm Mon–Fri
- Address: 104 New Kings Road, London SW6 4LY
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