Maternity units shutting their doors

A shortage of midwives means more maternity units are shutting their doors to mums-to-be

Young baby

A shortage of midwives means more maternity units are shutting their doors to mums-to-be and compromising the safety of mums and their babies.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has said a shortage of 2,600 midwives was having a major impact on maternity services.

Around 42 per cent of maternity units have shut down temporarily in the past year, an RCM survey found, up from 33 per cent in the previous year.

The RCM said budget cuts are leaving midwives struggling to cope with a rising birth rate and increasingly complex births as a result of rising obesity, multiple pregnancies and older first-time mums.

On average, each unit closed its doors on 4.8 separate occasions in 2015 – at most 23 times. More than 90 per cent of the midwives polled said their unit was dealing with more complex cases, 30 per cent said they didn't have enough midwives and 11 per cent have had to reduce services like bereavement support and help with breastfeeding.

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