For a long time, the Royal College of Midwives has been calling for more midwives in the UK. That call has now been supported by the King’s Fund Report.
The Report lays out the challenges facing the NHS, the biggest of which is to save between £15bn and £20bn in the next 3 years.
Every area of the NHS will be affected by cost saving measures, including maternity care. The UK has a rising birth rate and an increase in cases of complex births. There are now concerns that maternity services will be unable to cope if additional midwives are not available.
Inadequate maternity care can result in mother’s giving birth to brain-damaged babies and in some cases stillborns. The NHS is then subjected to claims for medical negligence compensation.
The King’s Fund Report recommends shifting responsibility during labour and birth. One way to improve services would be to allow midwives to become more involved in pregnancies with a low to medium risk freeing up obstetricians to deal with more complex cases.
It is also vital for midwives to receive regular training but budget cuts could reduce the level of training they and other essential support staff receive.
One medical negligence solicitor pointed out that brain injuries at birth are often caused by inadequate monitoring of a baby’s condition. Another common criticism in this type of medical negligence claim is a lack of adequate training for midwives.
Unless something is done to improve the system of maternity care, we could see an increase in the number of medical negligence cases.