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'We need more midwives', says Hunt

14 October, 2015

'We need more midwives', says Hunt

jeremy hunt_shutterstock_250x200.jpg

Jeremy Hunt. Credit: Shutterstock.

The secretary of state for health confirmed the need to increase midwife numbers, yesterday (13 October), in the House of Commons.

The statement was made in response to a question from Darlington MP Jenny Chapman, who asked: ‘Over a third of units closed their doors to women in labour last year. What is the Minister going to do about this, and why does he think it has been happening?’

Jeremy Hunt replied: ‘We need more midwives. We recruited more midwives in the previous parliament, and we do need to expand maternity provision as we have a growing birth rate.’

He added that he would be happy to look at problems in Ms Chapman’s area, but he highlighted that the forthcoming maternity review, led by Baroness Cumberlege, would help the government to address the problem sustainably.

The RCM states that the shortage of midwives in England remains critical, with the country still short of 2600 full-time midwives.

According to a recent RCM survey of UK senior midwives, more than a quarter of HoMs – 29.5% in 2014 and 29.6% in 2015 ­– said that they simply did not have enough midwives.

In the same survey, over two-fifths of maternity units had to close during the last year because they couldn’t cope with the demand – 32.8% in 2014 and 41.5% in 2015.

RCM chief executive Cathy Warwick said: ‘Jeremey Hunt’s announcement is very welcome indeed. The promise of more staff and expanded maternity provision will be good news for midwives and maternity services that are under enormous pressure to deliver safe, high quality care with often inadequate resources. It is also good news for women and their families.

'England remains 2600 full-time midwives short of the numbers needed to deliver the best care to women, babies and their families. I would urge Mr Hunt to commit to meeting this shortage and eradicating it.

'I will be meeting the minister responsible for maternity services shortly and will be raising this with him. I hope that we can work together to get the midwives needed and eliminate a midwife shortage that has been plaguing maternity services for a decade or more.'



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