Changes to NHS pensions could prompt many midwives to leave the health service, a survey by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) suggests.

The results, published today, show that 46% of those questioned would consider leaving the NHS if the pension age increases to 68. The threat of redundancy and job cuts concerns 51%, and 91% oppose the rise in pension age.

NHS England is nearly 5,000 midwives short at the moment, and over a quarter of existing midwives are over 50 years of age, and approaching retirement.

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Midwives are seeing their pay and pensions under attack by a Government that has also frozen their pay for the last two years.

“It is a Government that refuses to acknowledge the profound shortage of midwives in England. It is no surprise that many midwives may to choose to simply walk away from the NHS if proposed changes to their pensions are thrust upon them."

“The NHS pension scheme last year paid £2bn more to the Government than it took out. This is not a pension scheme that is unaffordable, it is one that is helping to prop up our economy. The strength of feeling on this is palpable and the results of this survey should make the politicians and policy makers sit up and take notice.”

The RCM supports the day of action to be held by the public sector against pension changes on November 30, but is not balloting its members for industrial action.

Author's Bio: 

Roy Rowlands writes for National Health Executive an essential guide to health service managers offering a wide view of healthcare news, views and opinions