Released on: 16 November 2020

In response to today’s survey from the Royal College of Midwives which found the safety of maternity services under serious threat, Angela McConville, Chief Executive, NCT, said:

“This new survey doesn’t surprise us, unfortunately, as it echoes our own research¹ which found that half of women (50%) experienced ‘red-flag events’ on labour wards. According to NICE, ‘red flag events’ are signs that there may not be enough midwives available to give women and babies the care and support they need.

“It’s vital that maternity services are properly funded and it’s unacceptable that there is understaffing and gaps in shifts. Low staffing levels can lead to dangerous situations and the results can have devastating impacts on women, babies and families.

“There is a crisis in maternity care, exacerbated by the current pandemic, and midwives are being stretched to the limit. We are calling on the Government and the NHS to end this chronic midwife shortage immediately, train more midwives and take the necessary steps to ensure they are supported to remain in the profession.”
 
Notes
 
¹In January, 2017, a report from NCT and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI), ‘Support Overdue: Women’s experiences of maternity services’, found dangerously low staffing levels mean that half of women (50%) experience at least one red-flag event during childbirth. According to NICE, ‘red flag events’ are signs that there may not be enough midwives available to give women and babies the care they need, for example having to wait more than 30 minutes to get pain relief or over an hour to be given stitches.

 

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