Responding to the Royal College of Midwives’ State of Maternity Services, Elizabeth Duff, Senior Policy Adviser, NCT, said:
“The Royal College of Midwives says that NHS maternity services are “reaching crisis point” but in fact parents have been there for some time and things aren’t getting better any time soon.
“Our recent report, Support Overdue*, exposed the current crisis in maternity services caused by low staffing levels and now RCM has sounded the alarm over the crisis to come as over one third of midwives get close to retirement.
“Midwives are having to respond to increasing needs and decreasing budgets, when the quality of care is affected it’s parents and babies who bear the brunt.
“The Government should listen to parents and professionals, support high quality maternity services and stop risking the safety of new mums and babies.”
*The key findings of Support Overdue, NCT and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes’ research covering England and Wales, were:
- Half of women (50%) experience at least one “red flag event” during childbirth. “Red flag events” are signs that there may not be enough midwives available to give women and babies the care they need
- Almost one in five women (18%) did not see a midwife as often as they needed postnatally, resulting in delayed diagnoses of health problems at a critical time for mothers and babies.
- 42% of women did not understand all the risks associated with their own circumstances and did not feel able to discuss them openly
- Most women (88%) did not know their midwife before they went into labour or gave birth. Of these women, 12% said this made them feel alone and vulnerable, and 6% unsafe.