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London births set to increase, says report

6 October, 2017

London births set to increase, says report

A report by The King’s Fund has warned that there will be an increase of 6942 births in London between 2016 and 2021 but a decrease in the number of midwives.

A second report by the charity found that over the past 30 years, the number of maternity beds in England fell by 51%. 

In the first report, Sustainability and transformation plans in London An independent analysis of the October 2016 STPs, researchers analysed London’s five sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) that were published in October 2016. The report was completed in March, but published last month. 

It said that London would experience rapid population growth from 2016 to 2021. The older population in London is growing at a slower rate when compared with the rest of England and the number of young people is growing rapidly. 

Unsurprisingly, this will translate into an increase in number of births. The report said it will be equivalent to the workload of a large maternity unit – amounting to an extra 6942 births in London per year. That’s a 5% change between 2016 and 2021.

The changes vary across the capital. South West London will see the highest increase with an additional 2565 births per year. North West London will see the smallest rise with an extra 362 births per year. 

But although the birth rate will rise, the number of midwife whole-term equivalent numbers is set to fall over the same period to save money. 

Across the four STPs that were able to include early estimates, the reported impact of their combined savings plans was to reduce whole-term equivalent staffing numbers between 2016/17 and 2020/21 by 1.4%.

This included 3800 fewer registered midwives, nurses and health visitors – a reduction of 7% against the 2016/17 level.

The King’s Fund report NHS hospital bed numbers: past, present, future found that between 1987/88 and 2016/17, the number of maternity beds fell by around 51%, mainly as a result of changes in length of stay. 

The total number of NHS hospital beds in England, including general and acute, mental illness, learning disability, maternity and day-only beds, has more than halved over the past 30 years, from around 299,000 to 142,000, while the number of patients treated has increased significantly.


Access NHS hospital bed numbers: past, present, future here.

Access Sustainability and transformation plans in London: an independent analysis of the October 2016 STPs here.
 

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