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Parenthood and the NHS

08 June 2023
Volume 32 · Issue 11

Around 90% of registered nurses and midwives in England are women. Many will become mothers during their careers. How women combine work in the NHS with motherhood brings with it important implications for recruitment, retention and hours of work. Kelly and Stockton (2022) noted that, despite the implications of maternity and how the NHS responds to it as part of workforce planning, efficiency and women's careers, little systematic, quantitative evidence on the labour supply of mothers with young children in the NHS is available.

Making the most of the actual and potential power and promise of the nursing profession depends on addressing a number of complex issues, including how women are treated. Although the nursing profession is a heavily female-dominated occupation, Punshon et al (2019) noted that men are over-represented at the most senior levels.

Employment rates and hours of work of mothers in the UK fall after they have had their first child and average wages stagnate. The NHS performs reasonably well at keeping female staff after maternity leave (Kelly and Stockton, 2022).

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