Margaret Greenwood MP has suggested that the government should come forward, as a matter of urgency, with a plan to address the staffing shortage in maternity services.
The MP for Wirral West was speaking in a debate on baby loss and safe staffing in maternity care.
The Royal College of Midwives recently raised concerns after it emerged that, as of June this year, in England, there were around 500 fewer midwives working in the NHS than in June 2021.
A recent report by the Baby Loss and Maternity All Party Parliamentary Groups highlighted that staff in maternity services ‘report working in constant fear of something going wrong, made all the more likely by exhausted staff operating at their limits.’
The same report also suggested that midwives are too stretched to offer high quality bereavement care to parents who have lost babies, and that they face the dilemma of having to choose between offering bereavement care or going to assist another woman in labour.
Margaret Greenwood MP said, “I was pleased to be able to contribute to this important debate in parliament. The exodus of midwives from the NHS is a matter of real concern.
“The Royal College of Midwives has recently drawn attention to the fact that the NHS in England has lost over 500 midwives in the past year.
“They have also reported that midwives are rushed off their feet, with sometimes no time even to get themselves a glass of water when they are thirsty.
“This is clearly not sustainable.
“The government needs to get a grip of the situation and address the fact that so many midwives are choosing to leave the profession.
“Ministers should come forward, as a matter of urgency, with a plan to address the staffing shortage crisis in maternity services and in the NHS more generally.
“Sands – the pregnancy and baby loss charity – has reported that currently in the UK 13 families a day suffer the heartbreak of losing their baby before, during or shortly after birth.
“However, due to the shortage of midwives and bereavement specialists in maternity services, many parents miss out on the crucial support that they desperately need at this sad and painful time.
“The government should take immediate steps to ensure that every parent gets the support that they need when they lose a baby.”