Midwife Shortage: Impact on Mothers

If you’re considering having a baby in either England or Wales, you might want to look elsewhere for that delivery. That’s because there is a dire shortage of midwives in the area, forcing maternity wards to turn away almost 1000 mothers-to-be last year.

Midwife Shortage

The Royal College of Midwives says that at least 4700 extra midwives are needed in England and Wales. At the same time, the birth rate is soaring; last year there was a baby born in Britain every 40 seconds.

A survey with the 171 Health Trusts and Boards discovered that at least 927 women were turned away last year, while the Freedom of Information Act found that many maternity wards were forced to turn laboring mothers away 1,055 times last year.

Disproportionate Need

London has certain areas were 20% of the midwife jobs were unfilled last year; these numbers are in stark contrast to some other locations. Rates in Wales and Northern Ireland were below 1%, and those in Scotland were only just above the 1% mark.

A recent report for the BBC1’s Panorama found that some maternity wards are really struggling. As they reported,

“Escalation of services was noted to be an issue when units appeared to have difficulty coping with the clinical workload; several deaths occurred when activity in a maternity unit was high and one-to-one care could not be delivered.”

Putting it in Context

NHS London’s chief nurse, Trish Morris-Thompson, pointed out that the deaths that have occurred need to be looked at in the larger context of the 200,000 births that occurred in that time period.

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