England short of almost 2500 midwives, new birth figures confirm. 2019. (accessed 17 June 2021)

The Guardian. Mother bled to death after childbirth ‘due to medical staff failings’. 2019. (accessed 17 June 2021)

The report of the Morecambe Bay investigation. 2015. (accessed 17 June 2021)

Labour Party. Almost half of maternity units close doors to new mothers. 2018. (accessed 17 June 2021)

‘Largest maternity scandal in NHS history’: dozens of mothers and babies died on wards of hospital trust, leaked report reveals. 2019. (accessed 17 June 2021)

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence NICE guideline NG4. Safe midwifery staffing for maternity settings. 2015. (accessed 17 June 2021)

Ockenden report. Emerging findings and recommendations from the independent review of maternity services at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust. 2020. (accessed 17 June 2021)

Midwifery services

24 June 2021
Volume 30 · Issue 12

There appears to have been a surge in media coverage regarding the provision of midwifery services. The effects of austerity are still being felt and we continue to reap what others have sown.

Under the Freedom of Information Act it has been revealed that, in England at some point in 2017, nearly half of maternity units closed to new mothers (Labour Party, 2018). Capacity and staffing issues were the most common reason for closures. Maternity units are understaffed and under pressure.

The national midwife shortage continues. The NHS in England is short of the equivalent of almost 2500 full-time midwives (Bonar, 2019), despite the fact that, in 2015, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2015) issued guidelines covering safe midwifery staffing in all maternity settings.

Closure of units and lack of staff have an impact not only on mothers and their families but also on those midwives who are striving to practice to the highest of standards.

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