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Wide variations in regional midwife to birth ratio

21st September 2010

According to official data released by nursing minister Anne Milton, midwives in certain parts of Britain have to deal with much heavier workloads than others.

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The statistics, which were released to respond to a parliamentary query, showed that midwives in the East of England and South Central regions dealt with 39 births per year in 2009, in comparison to 28 per midwife per year in the North East.

The figure of 39 births per midwife per year is over one third more than the recommendations made by the Safer Childbirth hospital births standards, which were put together by four leading colleges, including the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and the Royal College of Midwives.

The colleges recommended that midwives deal with 28 births per year in order to "ensure one to one care in labour" in hospitals.

RCM deputy general secretary Louise Silverton told Nursing Times that trusts which had higher birth numbers per midwife were not  "unsafe, but in some areas you might want more back-up".

The data revealed improvements to the average number of births per midwife, which fell from 34.3 in 2008 to 33.2 in 2009.

RCM director for England Jacque Gerrard told Nursing Times: "We are cautiously encouraged by these figures. There seems to have been an improvement in the level of investment."

 

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