The Royal College of Midwives has hit out at claims by the BNP that it blames immigration for increased pressure on maternity services.
An article on the BNP website said: ‘According to a survey by the Royal College of Midwives issued in 2008, the quality of NHS care has plummeted because ministers failed to predict a massive rise in the birth rate among immigrant mothers.’
According to the article, ‘several maternity wards at NHS hospitals in areas which serve largely white areas of the country, have been forced to shut their doors for months at a time because staff were needed elsewhere to deliver babies from foreign-born mothers in immigrant-dense areas.’
But the RCM denied that it considered immigration to be a problem.
General secretary Cathy Warwick pointed out that many midwives were born outside of the UK and without them, NHS maternity care would be ‘on its knees’.
Instead, Ms Warwick said the pressure on maternity units was caused by increasing fertility rates in older women.
Ms Warwick said: ‘We have seen an almost 50 percent rise in the fertility rate for women aged 40 or over, for example, and these women place more demands on the service than younger women. ‘Every year, the amount of medical intervention in maternity care increases and the number of babies delivered by caesarean section rises, both of which place extra demands on those providing maternity care.
‘The growing complexity and quality of maternity care are therefore the main reasons why pressures on the service are growing.
‘Thankfully, all mainstream parties recognise this and there is cross-party support for more resources for maternity care to deliver the first-class service we all want. That is the approach that responsible political parties should be taking, not scapegoating foreign-born mothers for a failure to invest in more midwives and better facilities and choice for all women.’
Does immigration put maternity services under pressure?