§ Mr. Alexander
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services how many staff midwives were in post on 30 September in each region, listed separately, in England and Wales in 1985, 1986 and 1987.
§ Mr. Newton
The information for each region in England for September 1985 and September 1986 is shown in the table.
Similar information for 1987 is not yet available.
The information for Wales is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
NHS staff midwives in post1: England at 30 September Whole-time Equivalents2 Regional health authority 1985 1986 Northern 520 550 Yorkshire 510 560 Trent 590 620 East Anglian 290 320 NW Thames 450 450 NE Thames 620 640 SE Thames 530 600 SW Thames 440 420 Wessex 430 440 Oxford 330 350 South Western 410 440 West Midlands 650 640 Mersey 280 330 North Western 640 680 London post-graduate special health authorities 110 110 England 6,820 7,150 Source: DHSS annual census of NHS non-medical manpower. 1 Excludes agency staff midwives. 2 All figures are independently rounded to the nearest 10 whole time equivalents.
§ Mr. Cohen
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the current level of midwife staff vacancies within the National Health Service and the trend of such vacancies on previous years; whether Her Majesty's Government has any plans to procure a reduction of these vacancies, by the recruitment and retention of more midwives; and if he will make a statement.198W
§ Mr. Newton
I regret that information on vacancies is not collected centrally and no current information on vacancies is available. The results of the 1987 regional health authority chairmen's survey undertaken for the Nurses' Pay Review Body are expected shortly. However, the results of the previous surveys show that at 31 March 1986 2.7 per cent. of midwives' posts had been vacant for at least three months compared to about 3.0 per cent. a year earlier.
Nationally the number of midwives has increased by 16.0 per cent. since 1981. Action is being taken centrally where appropriate to improve recruitment and retention of such staff. For example, the new grading definitions recently agreed by the Nurses and Midwives' Negotiating Council will provide better career opportunities for those who develop their clinical skills and will improve incentives to remain in the Health Service.