The latest birth figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that England’s baby boom is continuing despite economic troubles.
There were 688,120 live births in England last year, an increase of more than 1000 since the previous year and more than 124,000 since the start of the boom in 2001.
The number of births in England over the last decade is up by 22% while the number of midwives has only risen by 17% in the same time.
The RCM’s deputy general secretary Louise Silverton commented how this has compounded a shortage of midwives that already existed in 2001.
‘While there has been a modest rise in the number of midwives under the coalition, the number of births has been rising steeply, as these statistics prove, and these are more complicated births, requiring more intensive care and support from midwives,’ she said.
‘However, we know many women are not currently getting one-to-one midwifery care in labour or choice of place of birth. We also know many women do not always get the best care at the vital time after the birth of their baby, especially once they go home.’
Louise also highlighted that while the government knows there is a problem and a dire shortage of midwives, and are committed to training more midwives, what is needed are more midwifery jobs.
‘It is pointless training more midwives if they cannot get employment,’ she added.
‘The RCM has been saying for a long time that without real and sustained investment in midwives, change is hard to achieve. The RCM’s view is that in order to deliver high-quality maternity care for mothers and babies proposed by the government we need 5000 more midwives.’
To sign the RCM’s e-petition to recruit 5000 more midwives in England click here