Maternity Care In UK On Verge Of Breakdown

Sunday, January 2, 2011
By Paul Martin

Cathy Warwick claims staff shortages ‘threaten safety’ and accuses PM of backtracking on pledge to hire extra midwives

Denis Campbell
Guardian.co.uk
Saturday 1 January 2011

Maternity services are close to breaking point and care for mothers is worsening, the UK’s leading midwife warns in a dramatic plea over the declining state of childbirth on the NHS.

Labour wards are struggling to give women the proper quality of care under the “relentless” pressure of a record birth rate, staff shortages and increasingly complex births, says Cathy Warwick, general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives.

Writing in the Observer, Warwick warns that the situation in maternity units is so grave that the safety of women giving birth is under threat. Midwives, she says, “are deeply anxious about the care being delivered. They believe that the service they are giving to women and babies is deteriorating and that safety is too often being compromised. The service is teetering on the brink; the cracks are beginning to appear.”

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