‘An increase in labour interventions is more evidence of the rising complexity of care requiring more midwives says RCM’

By RCM on 09 November 2016 NHS Digital Report Women Older Mothers Midwives Birth rate Interventions

RCM comments on NHS Digital Hospital Maternity Activity Report 2015/16

Today (Wednesday 9th of November) NHS Digital have released their Hospital Maternity Activity Report for 2015/16*.

The annual report is on all deliveries in England’s NHS hospitals and includes data on woman’s age, delivery method and place of delivery.

Key Findings include:

  • There were 648,107 deliveries in NHS hospitals during 2015-16, an increase of 1.8 per cent from 2014-15.
  • The number of deliveries for mothers aged under 20 has halved over the last ten years, from 44,123 deliveries in 2005-06 to 22,032 in 2015-16.
  • The number of deliveries for mothers aged 40 years and over has risen from 22,123 in 2005-06 to 24,942 in 2015-16, an increase of 12.7 per cent.
  • The proportion of spontaneous deliveries has dropped from 64.4 per cent in 2005-06 to 59.6 per cent in 2015-16. Caesarean deliveries increased from 24.1 per cent to 27.1 per cent in the same period.

Commenting Louise Silverton Director for Midwifery at The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) says; “This report again reveals an increase in births across all NHS hospitals unfortunately England remains 3,500 midwives short and if we are to provide the highest level of maternity care we must have enough midwives in place to deliver the best and safest possible care for all women.”

“Births to older mothers are increasing and there are many reasons why women become pregnant later in life. Often older women who become pregnant may require more care throughout their pregnancy. It is also important that women are made aware of the increased potential for pregnancy complications as a result of age and in some cases assisted conception. They can then make informed decisions with their partners about when to have a baby.

“The RCM welcomes the reduction in teenage birth rate, it is really positive to see that the number of deliveries to mothers under the age of twenty has halved in the last ten years and that is of course due to the extremely successful teenage pregnancy strategy. However, we must remain vigilant and remember that rates some vulnerable and disadvantaged communities rates remain high. We need more midwives in such areas to provide more targeted care and support for those that need it most.”

“The increase in labour interventions is again more evidence of the rising complexity of care requiring more midwives, particularly as we are seeing an increase in births to women over forty. While the changes to pain relief may reflect the increase in women having access to midwifery services for labour and birth and these often include access to water for pain relief as well as for the birth

We also know from Birthplace that continuity of midwife carer does result in reduction in interventions in labour including epidural pain relief.”

“This is a beneficial report that will hopefully inform clinical processes that will enable the NHS to deliver more accurate and personalised maternity services for women and their babies. We must remember that this can only be achieved If we have the right amount of midwives in place to deliver safest and highest standard of care that every woman deserves.”

*NHS Digital Report: Hopital Maternity Activity 2015-16 can be viewed in full here: http://www.content.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB22384


To contact the RCM Press Office call 020 7312 3456 or email pressofficer@rcm.org.uk.

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.