Midwife shortages risking lives15th September 2011
The Royal College of Midwives has warned that parts of England are facing severe midwife shortages.
They fear the current scenario is putting mothers and babies at risk.
England has seen a 22% rise in births over 20 years, leading to midwife shortfalls with some areas faring worse than others, particularly the East Midlands and East.
The RCM wants 4,700 more midwives to keep pace with demand, though the Department of Health maintains that record numbers of midwives were being trained.
The RCM analysed midwife numbers across England, measuring the number in an area against the number of babies born there and estimates one midwife is needed for every 28 hospital births and 35 births in a midwife-led unit or at home.
From that the RCM found the North East and North West of England had a shortfall of less than 10% but that the East Midlands and East of England needed 41% more midwives, and the South East is also more than a third short of staff.
However, it found that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland did not have midwife shortages at the moment.
RCM General Secretary Cathy Warwick said: “This is a real problem in England.
“We believe women should have the same choice over giving birth wherever they live. Once you get to really critical shortfalls, maternity services won't be safe.”
The charity Action against Medical Accidents said the situation in some areas was desperate and a failure to deal with this problem was all too often turning it into a tragedy.
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