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‘Midwife shortage soars, as birth rate figure continues to rise steadily in England’

13 July, 2016

‘Midwife shortage soars, as birth rate figure continues to rise steadily in England’

Binary Data

Today the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published the 2015 birth-rate figures for England and Wales.

In England there were 664,399 babies born in 2015. A rise of 2,903 births on the 2014 figure when there was 661,496 babies born.

The statistics also show that the trend for women to have their babies at an older age has continued throughout 2015.

Commenting the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) director for England Jacque Gerrard says; “These latest statistics show that the baby boom is continuing, but unfortunately the number of midwives is not keeping pace with the growing birth rate.”

“We are now short 3,500 midwives in England. Our midwives continually tell us of the pressures they face daily in delivering the care they want to and we know this is compromised due to chronic understaffing.”

“Too few midwives also means less time with women, particularly at antenatal appointments when midwives need time to speak to women about smoking cessation, alcohol consumption and the importance of healthy eating and exercise during pregnancy.”

“The rise in births to older mothers has been highlighted in this report and typically older women will require more care throughout their pregnancy and this again means more midwives are needed.

While the fall in the stillbirth rate is encouraging, we must continue to strive to reduce this even further. Better continuity of care and enabling midwives to offer the right levels of support to women are key to reducing this.”


The Office for National Statistics figures can be viewed at:



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


Notes to editors

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/.

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