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Lack of funding threatens maternity services

MP’s have warned that there are not enough Midwives and maternity consultants in England to provide a universally safe maternity services. The reason for the lack in qualified staff is apparently down to funding cuts.

These warnings have come after a report from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) confirmed that the nation is 2,300 midwives short and that in some areas this has jeopardised expecting mother’s right to high quality and safe care.

The staff shortages not only compromise the quality of care expectant parents can expect to receive but serve to deflate the morale and staying power of those currently working in the front line of maternity services in the UK. According to figures collected by PAC one in three midwives with less than 10 years experience plans to leave the profession within 1 year. Clearly a depletion in the number of experienced staff will only further compromise the quality of services provided.

Giving birth remains the most common reason in the UK for attending hospital and while thankfully most people experience safe deliveries, the NHS still had to use one fifth of its maternity budget last year, or £480 million, on Medical Negligence claims.

This has led to critics of the budget cuts to speculate that the lack of resources actually leads to greater long term cost and they have urged the Government to increase their spending to produce productivity and safety.

In response to these reports the health minister, Dr Dan Poulter, stated that the NHS is one of the safest places in the world to give birth and that the number of midwives had actually gone up 1,500 in the last 12 months.

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