Midwife scandalMaternity services in Britain are facing a crisis, an investigation by breakfast magazine show Daybreak has revealed.

A section of the show looked at research commissioned by Daybreak and Carried out by OnePoll, and found that more than a third (39 per cent) of the midwives questioned said they were not satisfied with the quality of care they are able to provide. Additionally, 60 per cent said this was because a lack of staff, and 89 per cent said they have been put in situations where there mums or babies could have been at risk.

In an interview, an anonymous midwife said she felt she had become “like a machine”, and said the industry was facing challenges due to a lack of midwives and an ageing workforce, which has meant many experienced midwives have retired or left the workforce.

She said it was often difficult to “look after one woman because they have been allocated another three women to look after at the same time.”

Poor midwifery care

Following the investigation, the focus of the programme returned to the study, where one woman described her experience of poor midwifery care, which led to the death of her daughter, Imogen.

The woman, introduced as Laura, said: “we were left for hours, unattended. She [the midwife] was nowhere to be seen. When I had the urge to push, my mum went to find her, she was sitting in the nursing station and would be there when she could, but she had three other people to look after.

“When she came in she found me fully dilated but insisted that I shouldn’t push. She was sat over the other end of the room and every now and then she’d shout over and tell me to stop pushing.

“[When Imogen was born] she was born in a very poor condition – we knew that from the start. It was a bit of a blur; the room just filled up with doctors, nurses…she was then transferred to Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham for treatment for brain damage, but it didn’t work.”

Louise Silverton, director of midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Women are not getting the help and support they need in the move from being women to becoming mothers.”

When questioned about midwife numbers, Louise said that this is a problem that “won’t go away.”

She continued: “We do need to salute the government for getting more midwives into employment and for also keeping the student numbers up, but of course, the birth rate is still continuing to rise. We’ve had a 22% increase in the birth rate in 10 years – and we haven’t got 22% more midwives.”

To view the programme, click here.