NHS Short of 2,300 midwives
Posted: February 1, 2014
Posted in: Birth Injury Medical Negligence
A recent report into maternity care has uncovered that a lack of NHS funding is putting mothers and babies at serious risk. The most concerning finding was that the NHS is currently short of 2,300 midwives for the UK’s current birth rates. The report has sparked great criticism from the Commons public accounts committee, arguing that the Department of Health and NHS England should be in control of “something as fundamental” as ensuring that there are enough midwives.
The report did not only highlight the extreme shortage of midwives, but it also found that this extra pressure was leading to very low staff morale levels and an increasing number of nurses leaving the profession after only a few years. It also found that infection rates among new mothers were far higher at the weekends – showing that a lack of staffing is accountable for the problem.
Too much variation between trusts
The report further noted that the rates of stillbirths and babies dying within seven days of birth is higher in England than anywhere else in the UK, and even Europe. It suggested that there is too much variation in the quality of care being provided by different NHS trusts.
One MP pointed out that the NHS Compensation bill for errors in maternity care is “too high”, saying: “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.”
NHS England said that they would study the report and take onboard any recommendations that would improve their service to mothers and babies.
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