Last Wednesday, I attended the re-launch of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Parliamentary Panel.
The meeting coincided with the publishing of a report by the RCM on the State of Maternity Services in the UK. This revealed that the number of births per year increased by 22% between 2001 and 2010, while the number of midwives had increased from just over 18,000 in 2001 to just under 21,000 in 2010.
These statistics suggest that there is a shortfall of 4,664 midwives nationwide. This is mainly due to the 71% increase in births to women aged 40+ since 2001. The RCM noted that births to mothers in this age group are more likely to involve complications, such as an increasing risk of giving birth prematurely or a caesarean or an epidural injection. This inevitably means that midwives have less time to attend to other mums. Projections show that this mis-match between the supply and increasing demand for midwifery services is unlikely to diminish due to the continuing high birth rate and the complications that may arise.
I’m glad to be part of the re-established Parliamentary Panel which will highlight this fundamental issue.