Hospital fills midwife shortage with 'aggressive recruitment'

NNUH chief nurse Professor Nancy Fontaine. Photo: NNUH

NNUH chief nurse Professor Nancy Fontaine. Photo: NNUH - Credit: NNUH

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) experienced a sudden shortage of midwives this summer, but says it has now overcome the problem.

Professor Nancy Fontaine, chief nurse at the hospital said the 35 vacancies in June of this year was “an unusual position” for the hospital, which is normally well-supplied with midwives. 

Prof Fontaine explained that many midwives who had been considering retirement just before the pandemic decided to stay at work throughout it. 

“Obviously women still need[ed] to have their babies delivered, and we need[ed] to keep them safe, and it was incredibly demanding to manage that level of risk for the women and their babies, and also keep the partners safe - and I think it started to take its toll,” said Prof Fontaine.

She added that the hospital had rapidly responded to the midwives' departure with an “aggressive recruitment approach” to “completely reverse” the shortage. 

Stephanie Pease, the NNUH’s divisional midwifery director said that by December, the hospital will have employed more than 44 whole-time-equivalent midwives to fill and exceed the 35 vacancies.

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