The Royal College of Midwives has welcomed the announcement today by the Scottish Government of an increase in the number of student midwives in training for the next year.
The Nursing and Midwifery Student Bursary (NMSB) provides financial support to Scottish student nurses and midwives. The core NMSB, which is non-means tested and non-repayable, has been set at £6,578 per year since 2009/10 and is increasing to £8,100 in 2019/20 and to £10,000 in 2020/21.
The Scottish Government has also made it easier for those wishing to become midwives and nurses to train for the profession.
Dr Mary Ross-Davie, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Director for Scotland said:
“The RCM is pleased that the Scottish Government have listened to us. Today’s announcement on additional student midwife training places in Scotland is good news not only for our maternity services, but particularly for those wanting to become midwives.
“These additional midwife training places were really needed and will go towards future proofing Scotland’s maternity services to ensure that women and their babies will continue to receive safe high quality maternity care.
“The RCM believes this increase in student numbers, along with the Government’s commitment to sustaining and supporting return to practice programmes, the ongoing provision of bursary support for student midwives are a positive response to the growing midwifery workforce issues across Scotland.
“Importantly we must now ensure these additional students have a really positive learning experience not only in their universities, but also in their midwifery practice. For this to happen the RCM believes there needs to be additional resources for midwives in practice. We most also continue offering mentorship to support our midwifery students and have enough lecturers to deliver high quality teaching and support.
“The RCM hopes to see equivalent increases in midwifery lecturer posts across Scotland and increases in the numbers of midwife mentors to match these increases in student midwife training places announced today.”
Midwifery student numbers (figures for 2016 ) is up 13.7%, mental health nursing up 16.7% and learning disability up 18%. There were 10,239 students in education in October 2016, an increase from 9,936 at October 2015.
Jeane Freeman, Health Secretary in the Scottish Government said:
“Our nurses and midwives are critical to the success of our NHS and will continue to be so. We are acutely aware of the demand across Scotland in a variety of settings and I want to ensure our NHS is well equipped to continue to provide the best possible care for patients.
“We are determined to ensure we recruit and retain the next generation of staff to meet these needs. That is why we are again increasing nursing and midwifery student intake, with more than 4,000 places available in 2019/20.
“It is also vital we support the nurses and midwives of the future during their education, which is why our bursaries are the best in the UK. By increasing this support, which is non-means tested and non-repayable, to £10,000 by 2020/21 we’ll make studying easier for those seeking a rewarding career in our health service.”