Lives are being put at risk by the government’s failure to recruit more midwives, a leading maternity expert has warned.
Royal College of Midwives (RCM) general secretary Cathy Warwick criticised the Prime Minister for failing to honour his pre-election promise to introduce another 3,000 midwives in England.
Mrs Warwick said the quality of maternity care has been damaged because staff numbers have not kept pace with the rising birth rate, which has soared by 22% over the last 20 years.
The RCM has set up an online petition calling for an additional 5,000 midwives to be trained.
The group claims this would help maternity services to deal with additional pressures, including the rising number of obese and older women giving birth.
Mrs Warwick told the Sunday Mirror: “Before he came into power David Cameron promised to increase the number of midwives in England by 3,000, describing them as ‘overworked and demoralised’.
“Sadly, since then little has been done by this government for maternity services.”
She continued: “Without this increase in midwife numbers and investment I have real fears that our maternity services could be heading towards a point where not only the quality of care is threatened, but safety as well.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: “There are hundreds more midwives in the NHS than there were last year, and midwife training numbers are at record levels.”