Midwife staff cuts put women giving birth at risk

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Women giving birth are not getting proper care because NHS maternity units are having to deal with staff cuts, recruitment problems and smaller budgets ... Increasing workloads caused by record numbers of births, more complex pregnancies and too few staff are having a negative effect on patient care, according to over half (54%) of 3,690 midwives polled. Those results ... underline serious concerns outlined today in a separate survey of heads of midwifery (HOMs). Among 83 HOMs in England questioned by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), 30% said their budget had been cut and 33% said they had been asked in the last year to reduce their staffing levels. Two-thirds said they did not have enough personnel to cope with demand.

Pressure is growing on maternity services. The number of births in England rose ... 19% ... But during the same period the total number of midwives grew from 23,075 to 26,451 – a rise of 14.6%.

The growing number of mothers-to-be who are obese, older or teenagers – many of whom need extra support for high-risk pregnancies – is placing extra demands on services. Despite that, 47% of HOMs said they expected to have to lose some staff next year.

The findings have prompted fresh concern about the quality and safety of maternity care, said the RCM general secretary, Cathy Warwick ...

Dr Tony Falconer, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said: "As well as a need for more midwives, there is a need for more consultants to deal with the increase in the number of high-risk pregnancies."

Belinda Phipps, chief executive of parenting charity the NCT, said: "We are extremely concerned by the picture these figures paint about the future of maternity services." ...

Another reason to choose private midwifery care!

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448