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Birth rate increase sparks further concerns over midwife shortages

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Midwives have reiterated concerns that the size of the workforce is failing to keep pace with an increase in patient numbers after new figures showed a rise in the annual number of births.

Data from the Office for National Statistics showed there were nearly 3,000 more births in England in 2015 compared to the year before.

In 2015 there were 664,399 babies born, up from 661,496 in 2014. The RCM also noted the statistics showed the trend for women to have their babies at an older age had continued.

”The rise in births to older mothers has been highlighted in this report and typically older women will require more care”

Jacque Gerrard 

The RCM claimed there was now a shortage of 3,500 midwives in England and that this was leading to daily pressures for staff.

RCM director for England Jacque Gerrard said: “Our midwives continually tell us of the pressures they face daily in delivering the care they want to and we know this is compromised due to chronic understaffing.”

“Too few midwives also means less time with women, particularly at antenatal appointments when midwives need time to speak to women about smoking cessation, alcohol consumption and the importance of healthy eating and exercise during pregnancy,” she added.

“The rise in births to older mothers has been highlighted in this report and typically older women will require more care throughout their pregnancy and this again means more midwives are needed,” she said.

 

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