A year on and the Care Quality Commission have published their annual state of care report, which highlights safety concerns within the NHS. The health care and adult social care in England 2014/15 report refers to the pressure currently being faced by midwives, which is being caused by under-staffing and under-funding.
It has recently been revealed that the NHS is short of around 2,600 midwives, partially due to the increase in births, especially from older mothers who typically need more care during their pregnancy to ensure babies are kept safe throughout.
In addition to the increase in older women having children, the shortage is worsened by the ageing midwifery workforce. According to an RCM report, the number of midwives in England aged 50 or over has doubled to over 8,000 since 2001, meaning that with more midwives due to retire year on year, the need for more new midwives is greater.
The RCM chief executive Cathy Warwick commented about the increase in older mothers and the midwifery shortages, saying: “All women deserve the very best care, regardless of the age at which they give birth. Women have every right to give birth later in life, and we support that. But typically older women will require more care during pregnancy, and that means more midwives are needed.”
With more women waiting until later on in life to start their families, there is a need for the NHS to review the increase in numbers and look at recruiting large numbers of midwives to handle the baby boom, and replace the retiring midwives.
It can be a worrying thought that the lack of midwives could cause more strain to current midwives. This could then result in the decline of the quality of work they’re carrying out and damage their reputation of working endlessly to provide expectant mothers with adequate care and create a safe environment for children to be born into.
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