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RCM warns over 'critical shortfall' of midwives

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Parts of England are now facing dangerously high shortages of midwives, the Royal College of Midwives has warned.

As part of ongoing efforts to lobby the government on midwifery numbers, the college last week released new figures showing shortages in each region based on workforce levels and birth rates.

While there are shortfalls across the country, some areas are worse than others, the RCM said – it has previously calculated that England needs an extra 4,700 more midwives in total.

The regional shortages range from 91 in the North East to 1,015 in the South East. Most regions are facing serious shortages, with London needing 862 more midwives, the East of England 780, and the East Midlands 600. “All are large and serious shortages,” the RCM said.

Meanwhile, the West Midlands needs 418 more midwives, Yorkshire and the Humber 370, the South West 271, and the North West 257.

RCM general secretary Cathy Warwick said: “This is not just a paper exercise to prove a point. These figures represent real and serious shortages in our maternity services.”

In contrast, the college said Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do not currently have midwife shortages.

 

Regional statistics: Birthrate, increase since 2001, increase since 2009 and number of midwives needed             

London:

 

133 111 live births in 2010

+28 949 or 28% since 2001

+3 866 or 3.0% since 2009

Midwives needed: 862

 

South East

106 434 live births in 2010

+17 924 or 20% since 2001

+2 765 or 3% since 2009

Midwives needed: 1015

 

East of England

73 001 live births in 2010

+12 911 or 22% since 2001

+1 666 or 2% since 2009

Midwives needed: 780

 

East Midlands

55 232 live births in 2010

+10 590 or 24% since 2001

+1 486 or 3% since 2009

Midwives needed: 600

 

West Midlands

72 090 live births in 2010

+11 272 or 19% since 2001

+1 048 or 2% since 2009

Midwives needed: 418

 

Yorkshire & the Humber

66 970 live births in 2010

+11 345 or 20% since 2001

+612 or 1% since 2009

Midwives needed – 370

 

South West

60 144 live births in 2010

+11 397 or 23% since 2001

+1 806 or 3% since 2009

Midwives needed: 271

 

North West

89 199 live births in 2010

+13 998 or 19% since 2001

+1 650 or 2% since 2009

Midwives needed: 257

 

North East

30 826 live births in 2010

+4 877 or 19% since 2001

+1 050 or 4% since 2009

Midwives needed: 91

 

ENGLAND

687 007 live births in 2010

+123 263 or 22% since 2001

+15 949 or 2% since 2009

Midwives needed: 4664

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