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Labour: Maternity discrimination 'cause for alarm'

The growing number of people asking for advice on pregnancy and maternity issues is "cause for alarm", according to the Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities.

Citizens Advice revealed that there had been a 25 percent increase in people seeking advice such issues in the past year, with many women saying their hours had been cut or that they were forced out of their jobs.

Labour MP and shadow women and equalities minister Kate Green criticised the government for failing "to put measures in places to protect mothers in the workplace."

Citizens Advice said there has been a 25% increase in people seeking advice on pregnancy and maternity issues in the past year. Credit: Katie Collins/PA Wire

She urged the government to outline its strategy to tackle this issue of discrimination against new and expectant mothers.

The 25 per cent increase in the number of people asking for advice on pregnancy and maternity issues in the past year is cause for alarm.

Under this Tory government it now costs up to £1200 to bring a maternity discrimination claim to an employment tribunal which has seen fewer than one per cent of women experiencing maternity discrimination now bringing forward a claim.

The government must urgently outline its strategy to tackling this issue and reverse the alarming increase in levels of maternity discrimination on its watch.

– Kate Green, shadow minister for women and equalities

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Former midwife: Shortage of midwives 'so obvious'

The shortage of NHS midwives is "so obvious" to anyone working in the NHS, leaving working staff with low morale and "worn out" from the job, a former midwife has told Daybreak.

Nora Pearce said maternity staff "have been promised that there will be more" but extra midwives always failed to appear.

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High quality maternity care 'suffering' from lack of staff

Maternity services in the UK are under strain due to a lack of trained and experienced staff need to provide "safe, high quality care", the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) have said.

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the RCM backed up a report from MPs which blasted the NHS and Government for a 2,300 void in the number of trained midwives.

Maternity services are many thousands of midwives short of the number needed to deliver safe, high quality care.

The birthrate remains exceptionally high and as this and the National Audit Office report states, births are also becoming increasingly complex.

This puts even more demands on midwives and maternity services.

We are seeing areas such as antenatal and postnatal care in particular suffering because trusts often do not have enough midwives to provide consistent and high quality care before and after pregnancy.

– Cathy Warwick

Compensation for botched maternity care 'too high'

Compensation paid to new mothers for problems during childbirth is "too high", an influential group of MPs said.

In a damning report into maternity care in the NHS, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) found maternity cases accounted "for a third of total clinical negligence payments".

The most common reasons for maternity claims have been mistakes in the management of labour and relating to Caesarean sections, and errors resulting in cerebral palsy.

The clinical negligence bill for maternity services is too high.

Maternity cases account for a third of total clinical negligence payments and the number of maternity claims has risen by 80% over the last five years.

Some £480 million, nearly a fifth of trusts' spending on maternity services, is for clinical negligence cover, equivalent to £700 per birth.

– Public Accounts Committee report into NHS maternity

MPs criticise NHS and Government over maternity care

An influential group of MPs has hit out at the Government and NHS for the lack of funding and expertise on maternity units.

Mother and baby's safety is put at risk by lack of funding and inexperienced midwives, MPs said. Credit: PA

The Public Accounts Committee found there was a national shortage of 2,300 midwives and said many maternity units were "running at a loss".

PAC said it was hard to find anyone accountable for "ensuring something as fundamental" as whether the NHS has enough midwives, in a scathing report in maternity care.

The committee reported rates of infection among new mothers and the baby as well as injury to the newborn "are all higher at the weekend".

It added: "Although there have been substantial improvements in levels of consultant presence on labour wards in recent years, over half of obstetric units were still not meeting the levels recommended by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists at September 2012."

Survey: New mothers feel ‘bullied’ into breastfeeding

New mothers often feel "bullied" into breastfeeding, a survey into maternity care found.

The survey by the Care Quality Commission said 41% of women felt "inadequately supported" when feeding their new baby and that the pressure to breastfeed made them feel isolated and guilty.

A newborn baby Credit: REUTERS/Nicky Loh

One new mother said the feeding issue was "the most upsetting part" of her care.

"Midwives and health visitors make you feel bullied into breastfeeding… I was desperate to breastfeed during my pregnancy, and I was devastated when I couldn't, but the comments and the way you are made to feel guilty is totally unacceptable,” the woman said.

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