Study re­veals is­sues adding to mid­wife cri­sis

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS - GARETH MCPHER­SON PO­LIT­I­CAL EDI­TOR

Mid­wives have warned of the pres­sures they are un­der from a lack of staff, ris­ing obe­sity lev­els and women giv­ing birth later in life.

The Royal Col­lege of Mid­wives urged the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to ease the strain on the ser­vice, as vacancies in­crease from 1.3% in 2013 to 5% in 2018.

The chief mid­wife at NHS Tay­side said they are see­ing more women with com­plex con­di­tions.

An RCM re­port found there is a ma­jor­ity of over­weight and obese preg­nant women in Scot­land for the first time, reach­ing 51% last year.

The age of preg­nant women is also in­creas­ing, with 54% of ba­bies in 2017 born to women in their 30s or 40s, the state of ma­ter­nity ser­vices re­port for Scot­land found.

Tay­side is short of about 12 mid­wives. NHS Fife did not pro­vide the fig­ure.

Jus­tine Craig, chief mid­wife at NHS Tay­side, said: “Our ma­ter­nity staff are com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing all preg­nant women with the care they need be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter their preg­nancy, and en­sur­ing that all chil­dren have the best pos­si­ble start in life.

“We recog­nise that more women are choos­ing to have chil­dren later and we are see­ing an in­crease in women with com­plex con­di­tions who may re­quire ad­di­tional care and sup­port dur­ing their preg­nancy.

“NHS Tay­side cur­rently has about 11.5... mid­wifery vacancies and we are ac­tively re­cruit­ing to fill th­ese posts.”

Mary Ross-davie, RCM direc­tor for Scot­land, said there are “great things hap­pen­ing in our ma­ter­nity ser­vices”.

She added: “How­ever, pres­sures on our mid­wives are in­creas­ing – the care needs of the women in our care are ris­ing, while the number of un­filled mid­wifery posts is also ris­ing.”

Health Sec­re­tary Jeane Free­man said they are re­tain­ing the stu­dent bur­sary, at­tract­ing for­mer mid­wives back to the pro­fes­sion and ad­vo­cat­ing an in­crease in stu­dent up­takes from 191 to 226.

Health Sec­re­tary Jeane Free­man has out­lined the steps be­ing taken to grow mid­wife num­bers.

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