RCM report says midwife shortage is affecting birth location choice

Released on: 01 October 2013

A new report by the Royal College of Midwives has found that departments around the country are "bursting at the seams" because there is not enough staff to care for women in labour. Its survey of heads of maternity found almost half of units had turned away women in the past year, forcing some to travel miles to find a hospital with room for them. One third of maternity units are refusing women home births because they cannot cope with demand.

Chief Executive, NCT, Belinda Phipps said: 

"This latest RCM survey further highlights the unacceptable service that some women are receiving.  Birth is a once or twice in a lifetime event for most women and their partners and hospitals must ensure there are enough midwives employed so that every woman has someone with her throughout her labour and birth and that she can choose her place of birth.  For low risk mums having a second baby evidence shows that they have a much less medical birth and their baby safety unchanged by booking a hospital birth.  

"A recent report by NCT and NFWI (Support Overdue: Women’s Experiences of Maternity Care) showed that a fifth of women were given only one choice of birth location, while only 12% we’re presented with all four options.  Midwife shortage should not be allowed to be the cause of that."