Midwives needed for baby boom

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THE Royal College of Midwives says there is a shortage of midwives across the East Midlands to cope with the baby boom.

There has been a 24 per cent increase in births in the nine years to 2010 when 55,232 babies were born.

The Royal College of Midwives manager for the East Midlands, Jeanne Tarrant, said: “It is deeply worrying that the region remains so short of midwives with the birth rate increasing at such a rate.

“It is not just about numbers. Births are also becoming increasingly complex, putting even more demands on maternity services.

“More investment is needed, action is needed, and it is needed now.

“Without some serious attention and investment I have real fears that services in the East Midlands will be struggling to cope with the demands upon them.”

A midwife who works at Peterborough Maternity Unit, who did not wish to be named, said: “Women’s safety is never compromised by a shortage of midwives, but only because we are killing ourselves to make sure that is the case.

“September is always a busy time because of people getting pregnant over Christmas and generally because of the migrant population around here, many of whom are of childbearing age, it means we don’t see the lulls that we used to.

“There has been no drop in the number of midwives and we have been very successful in recruiting new midwives, particularly since we have moved to the new hospital, but we are just busier generally.

“We are going flat out, doing extra shifts and extra hours to make sure safety is never compromised. We are working exceedingly hard and always going that extra mile.

“I know people at Boston hospital are in exactly the same situation.”

She added that the unit does occasionally have to be closed to new admissions because the beds are all full, with neighbouring units helping out when necessary.

She added: “It doesn’t happen often, but definitely more frequently now than in the past.”

Lincolnshire health bosses insist they are coping.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust spokesman Becky Derbyshire said: “Our maternity wards are fully staffed and where we do experience vacancies we do not usually experience any difficulty in filling these posts.

“The figures released by The Royal College of Midwives were by region and for the East Midlands included approximately 5,000 women who delivered their babies in hospitals over the East Midlands borders.

“In the last three years United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust has seen improvements in the midwife to birth ratio and continue to improve maternity services further.”