A survey by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has revealed a significant increase in the risk of mothers and babies suffering a birth injury accident, after it was revealed that many maternity units are facing major budget cuts.
Despite a higher national birth rate and increasing cases of complex deliveries, senior midwives say that budgets and staffing levels in around a third of maternity units have been cut.
Cathy Warwick, general secretary of the RCM, said, "I am deeply worried that we are seeing static or falling budgets, yet midwives and maternity services are faced with a continually rising demand.
"The NHS will be facing a fall in its income in real terms in the next few years and I have great fears for the future."
The number of new midwives has not stayed in step with the rising birth rate and almost half of senior midwives who took part in the survey said they expected to suffer staffing cuts in the coming year despite generalised increases in complex births involving obese mothers, and older or teenaged women.
Tony Falconer, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: "The rising birth rate and increase of complex pregnancies mean that maternity services are facing many challenges.
"As well as need for more midwives, there is a need for more consultants to deal with the increase in the number of high-risk pregnancies."
A spokesperson for YouClaim, commented, "This situation seems anomalous as current staffing trends may well put certain at-risk mothers and babies in jeopardy. If staffing cuts are continued in maternity units up and down the country our medical negligence solicitors fully expect to see a regrettable increase in the incidence of birth injury and birth accidents."
Published on 2011-11-19 09:32:00
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