Migrant baby boom triggers midwife crisis: Half of wards being forced to turn expectant mothers away Royal College of Midwives warns of massive shortage in parts of UK5,000 midwives needed in England alone to cope with demandHalf of maternity wards shut doors an average of seven times a year
UK witnessing highest birth rate in 40 years, as hospitals struggle to cope
pointing to it being another record-breaker and ONS projections
suggesting the birth rate in England could hit 743,000 by 2014.
Corby in Northamptonshire saw the
biggest baby boom, with a 63 per cent jump between 2002 and 2011 – three
times the rise across England as a whole.
Other hotspots include
Bournemouth, with a 54 per cent increase, Boston, Lincolnshire (53.5 per
cent), the London borough of Barking and Dagenham (52.5 per cent) and
Slough in Berkshire, which saw a 50.5 per cent rise.
Immigration is one factor, with
foreign-born mothers now having nearly a quarter of all babies in
Britain, but the RCM report says midwives are also struggling to look
after record numbers of older mothers, who are more prone to
Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, has warned England alone needs an extra 5,000 midwives
The report follows a survey of new mothers which found
that despite a Government pledge for mothers-to-be to have their care
overseen by one midwife, 40 per cent always saw a different one.
Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said
that more than 800 new midwives have started work since 2010, and 5,000
more are due to qualify in the next three years.
He added: ‘The number of midwives is
increasing faster than the birth rate. Most women already have
one-to-one maternity care, and we are working closely with The Royal
College of Midwives to ensure that is available for every woman.’
Thousands of patients are at risk from
appalling care reminiscent of scandal-hit Stafford Hospital, the health
secretary has claimed.
Jeremy Hunt’s warning comes just weeks
before the report of a public inquiry into the deaths of up to 1,200
people from poor care in the hospital’s A&E department between 2005
He said that while there are no
hospitals as bad as Stafford, ‘there are little bits of Stafford dotted
around the system’.
He added: ‘The biggest change the NHS needs to make
is to embed compassion at the heart of what it does.’