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Maternity services 'play catch up' for decade

Posted: 11 July 2012 by Rob Dabrowski

The health secretary has said that maternity services have been under-resourced for more than a decade.

Speaking at an awards ceremony for innovative maternity service he admitted that the baby boom has meant the NHS has been forced to ‘try and play catch up’.

He said: ‘Ever since 2001, mothers have seemed to be having more babies and the NHS has been having to try and play catch up.

He said the situation has ‘created a lot of pressure’ on maternity services.

The admission comes as the RCM's e-petition for 5000 new NHS midwives nears the 60,000 signatures point.

By 22 August, 100,000 people need to have added their names in order to the issue to qualify for a debate in parliament.

While Lansley admitted that the profession was under pressure, he said the Tory government was trying its best to resolve the situation.  

 ‘We currently have 900 more midwives than at the time of the election and 5000 more training places,’ he said.

‘I hope you don’t continually have to play catch up and we can meet those standards of care.

‘We do want to put as much support as we possibly can behind mothers, this and their partners and their families.’

He added that he hopes extra training for health visitors, which was announced in May, will help ease the situation.

‘I do hope for many of you that he development of health visitor support for families is something which you see as very helpful,’ he said.

He made the comments at an awards ceremony hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Maternity on Monday (9 July).