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Thousands more midwives planned to improve safety of care

The Health Secretary has revealed plans to create over 3,000 training course places for midwives over the next four years. The increase in numbers, announced on Tuesday, is the largest ever and comes after warnings of ‘chronic shortages’ by the Royal College of Midwives.  

Alongside plans to increase the number of midwives, the scheme, which promises to make childbirth safer, also aims to ensure all pregnant women have one dedicated midwife from their 20 week scan up to birth by 2025.

Continuity in care is considered key to improving safety and this is something I would agree with as a medical negligence solicitor at JMW. Currently, expectant mothers see a number of different midwifes throughout antenatal appointments and during birth.

In a recent a study carried out by the National Childbirth Trust and the national Federation of Women’s Institutes, 90 per cent of women had never met any of the midwives who looked after them during labour before. A spokesperson for the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said the report highlighted that services were “under too much pressure, with too few resources and not enough staff”.

The Health Secretary’s plan for more midwives could save the lives of 700 babies a year and prevent 500 babies being born with brain injuries. Having one midwife throughout pregnancy and birth is thought to reduce the risk of miscarriage by 19 per cent and mothers are 24 per cent less likely to give birth prematurely. These figures speak for themselves and show just how vital it is that midwives are properly resourced. As the legal experts at JMW frequently see, avoidable injuries to mothers and babies still happen far too often for a country as medically advanced as ours.

There are also plans to announce a more formal definition for maternity support workers and to work within organisations including the RCM to develop new training routes into midwifery.

The RCM have welcomed the announcement and note that whilst this will make a difference, it will take several years before the new midwives will be fully qualified. The initiative is part of the government’s aim to halve the rates of stillbirths, neonatal deaths and brain injuries occurring during or soon after birth by 2025 which we fully support, having represented thousands of families affected by such tragic events.

To talk to the team here at JMW about anything raised in this blog please do not hesitate to use our contact form. 



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