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Last Updated: Friday, 20 August, 2004, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
'I could never work in the NHS again'
Many midwives are leaving the NHS
Figures suggest the NHS is becoming increasingly reliant on agency staff.

BBC News Online talks to one midwife who left the health service and has no intention of returning.

Suzanne Thompson started working as a midwife in the NHS in 1993.

She had trained for five years and was looking forward to a promising career doing what she loved.

Within two years she had resigned.

You were never giving patients the care you wanted to be able to give them
"The salary was shocking," she says. "It was shocking in terms of the amount of responsibility we had.

"We were also taught to give patients one to one research-based care.

"On the NHS labour ward, we were often looking after at least two women at the same time

"You were never giving patients the care you wanted to be able to give them."

Moved abroad

Suzanne went to work in Saudi Arabia. After a couple of years, she returned to the UK and starting working as a midwife again in the NHS.

"I came back on the same grade. The NHS punishes you for going abroad. My experience counted for nothing."

I don't think I could put myself into the NHS again
Suzanne left after six months, disillusioned once again with the role of midwives in the health service.

"There just wasn't enough midwives. It wasn't unusual for one midwife to be caring for 30 women and 30 babies overnight.

"I don't think you can give good quality care like that."

Suzanne, who is now 34, moved to The Netherlands, where she set herself up in independent practice.

"I had my own caseload. I was responsible for how I worked and when I worked. I really could give the type of care I wanted to give to patients."

Suzanne has now moved into teaching and now works at the Institute of Midwifery Education in Maastricht.

She thinks about coming back to the UK from time to time.

"England is my home. It is where my family are. But I don't think I could put myself into the NHS again."

Nurse shortage threatens NHS
28 Apr 03  |  Health

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