The report, which includes a section focusing on maternity services, highlights staff shortages as ‘a major concern’.
It also states maternity services are failing in areas such as antennal and postnatal care, as staff working in these areas are often pulled into the labour wards leaving these areas understaffed and unable to deliver the care that women need.
Louise Silverton, deputy general secretary of the RCM, said: ‘This supports and highlights all we have been saying for many years about the shortage of midwives and the need for serious investment in maternity services.’
However, the RCM has criticised some of the language used in the report, claiming phrases such as ‘better than expected’ to describe a trust’s progress masks the fact that many trusts are still not meeting the recommended minimum ratios.
The latest ratio figures show that most regions in England do not have enough midwives and are not meeting the recommended ratios.
The RCM has also pointed out the importance of skills and experience. ‘We recognise investment in midwifery training but this will be wasted if the newly qualified midwives cannot find jobs,’ said Louise.
‘Once qualified, they need support from experienced midwives while they consolidate the skills learned during their training. Many of these midwives are those whose jobs are currently under threat,’ she added.
As it urges the government to take this issue ‘much more seriously’, the RCM also highlights the need to sign its e-petition, which calls for 5000 more midwives and requires 100,000 signatures to qualify for a parliamentary debate on the subject.
‘I would encourage all people to sign it to send a message to this government that maternity services matter,’ said Louise.