This guideline covers safe midwifery staffing in all maternity settings, including at home, in the community, in day assessment units, in obstetric units, and in units led by midwives (both alongside hospitals and free-standing). It aims to improve maternity care by giving advice on monitoring staffing levels and actions to take if there are not enough midwives to meet the needs of women and babies in the service.

Recommendations

This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Midwives and other healthcare professionals
  • Hospital managers and service managers
  • Heads and directors of nursing and midwifery
  • Commissioners, trust boards and policy decision-makers
  • Women and babies who use maternity services

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

Other national documents

There are other national documents that are relevant to midwifery staffing for NHS services, including:

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.

Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.


Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.