The first ever report into the state of maternity services across all of Britain has highlighted the potentially calamatous impact of rising demands, an ageing worforce and massive midwife shortages.
The State of Maternity Services Report was today [23 Nov] launched at the Houses of Parliament by the Royal College of Midwives and indicates that while more midwives are being employed there are still not enough to address "the chronic shortage of midwives as these are simply being eaten up by the record-breaking baby boom".
Births in England have risen 22 per cent in a decade and a significant part of this is from mothers aged over 40, where the birth rate is up 71 per cent, and the report states: "Pregnancies to older women are more likely to involve complications, which demand more of midwives and others in the maternity team."
All areas of Britain have experienced rising birth rates in that time and the RCM's chief executive, Cathy Warwick, said: "Across the UK we have record or high birthrates and rising demand, and governments need to ensure maternity services have the resources to meet them.
"This report shows that real attention is needed to plan for the future. The ageing workforce is worrying and we need to be planning to ensure we are training enough new midwives to fill the gaps when these midwives retire."
The RCM has also proposed potential solutions such as increased availability of home births and midwife-led units but its main focus is an e-petition for 5,000 more midwives which it has submitted to Parliament.
Posted on November 23 2011 at 1230 by firstname.lastname@example.org