Lack of midwives and funding 'risk safety of pregnant women'

A shortfall in the number of trained midwives and a lack of funding has risked safety of pregnant women, MPs have warned. In a damning report on maternity care, the Public Accounts Committee hit out at the Department of Health and NHS England.

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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."

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