As birthrate soars midwives are becoming a rare species

The British birthrate is rocketing, but a warning has come from the Royal College of Midwives that parts of England are potentially facing a dangerously high shortage of midwives. The shortfalls vary significantly between areas and the East of England and the East Midlands need another 41% more midwives the RCM has warned, and these shortages could put mothers and babies at risk.

Yorkshire has experienced a 20% rise in birthrates in the past decade, leaving the county needing a further 370 midwives. The College says that in total, England needed a further 4700 midwives to cope with the increasing pressures, which include a growing number of older and obese pregnant women. It also criticised the PM, David Cameron, for apparently abandoning his pre-election promise to recruit another 3000 midwives.

Cathy Warwick, the general secretary of the RCM, has said that these shortfalls and the fact the complex births are increasing is threatening the quality and safety of maternity care. She said that far too many maternity units in England are under resourced and under staffed to meet the demands placed on them.

She added that she was deeply frustrated that there was absolutely no action coming from the government for remedy the problem. The regional manager of the college, Jeanne Tarrant, has said that more investment and action are needed, and needed now. Without serious investment and attention she has real fears that services in certain regions are going to be really struggling to cope.