Health minister Ann Keen has told nursing directors and heads of midwifery to speak up if quality and safety of services are being compromised to save money.
Speaking at a Nightingale breakfast meeting at King’s College London last week, she said there had been “no message to do any cut to a service, and in particular to maternity”.
Her comments came in response to a question from Jill Demilew, a consultant midwife at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, who described being under pressure to make cost savings of 10 per cent despite a 36 per cent increase in the birth rate since 2002.
Ms Keen highlighted the £330m the government had allocated to primary care trusts for maternity services in 2008-11.
She said: “It’s up to your heads of midwifery within each PCT area to ask where that money is.”
Nurses and midwives should challenge decisions they feel compromise patient care.
“You are just going to have to stand up and say you are not going to accept this in this way, that there is another way.”