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Shortage of Midwives puts Women in Danger

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Further cuts will put women at risk announce the Royal College of Midwives.

The NHS already acknowledges that there are too few midwives, particularly in London and the South-east of England, however, over a third of senior midwives questioned admit they will probably have to make more cuts within the next year to save money.

The Royal College warns that further cuts within an already understaffed service will mean that the NHS will no longer be able to guarantee the safety of ladies giving birth in their hospitals.

Already, of the senior midwives interviewed, almost 2 thirds proclaimed that they didn’t have enough staff to run their units even now. Almost 80% said that over half of their advertised vacancies had remained vacant for over 3 months.

The increase in the number of babies born, alongside the higher rate of complications during birth has been blamed for the need for more midwives. The number of babies born over the last 12 months has continued to rise, almost 2.5% this year. Since the turn of the century, births resulting in a live baby in England have risen by 19% .

Furthermore, almost 80% of senior midwives agrees that because women are generally more overweight and choosing to have babies later on in life, they have seen an increase in complications during pregnancy and birth.

The Royal College of Midwives General Secretary stated, “Maternity staffing numbers have simply failed to keep pace with the ever-rising number of births, but now we face the prospect of maternity staff, including possibly midwives, actually losing their jobs.” She added that this, “worries me very much.”

Cathy Warwick, the general secretary of the college, said: “These results are deeply disturbing given the steeply rising birthrate and increasing needs of women. Overworked and understaffed maternity units are unsafe maternity units.
“Maternity staffing numbers have simply failed to keep pace with the ever-rising number of births, but now we face the prospect of maternity staff, including possibly midwives, actually losing their jobs. That is what heads of midwifery, who run maternity units up and down the country, are telling us, and that worries me very much.”

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