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Shortage of midwives in Yorkshire


1:28pm 15th September 2011

There's a serious shortage of midwives in England.

The Royal College of Midwives reports that 4,700 more staff are needed.

In Yorkshire and the Humber there been a 20% increase in births since 2001.

66,970 babies were born here last year.

It's estimated that at least 370 more midwives are needed in the region to ensure that mothers get safe and high quality care.


Hundreds more midwives are needed in Yorks and Humber to keep up with the baby boom says the Royal College of Midwives (RCM). The message comes on the back of recent figures showing that the region’s birthrate has rocketed over the last 10 years.

There has been a 20% increase in births in the region since 2001, with births hitting 66,970 in 2010, up nearly one per cent on the previous year. The RCM estimates that at least 370 more midwives are needed to ensure that mothers get safe and high quality care.

These new figures for the midwife shortages in the region come after the RCM has made new calculations based on new birthrate figures released last month.

Midwife shortages have a real and significant impact on the quality of care and the choices available to women. It means that women wanting and expecting a home birth are denied one. It will mean midwife-led units close, permanently or temporarily, leaving many disappointed woman who wanted to give birth in them. Breastfeeding rates will not improve because there are not enough midwives to offer women the help and support they need, particularly in the postnatal period.

Jeanne Tarrant, Royal College of Midwives regional manager for Yorkshire & Humber, said:

“It is deeply worrying that the region remains so short of midwives, with the birthrate increasing at such a rate. It is also 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 region will be struggling to cope with the demands on them.”

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