Recommended midwifery staffing levels state that there should be one midwife per 28 births a year. Parliamentary Questions have revealed that the West Midlands is currently seeing rates of 31.4 births per full-time equivalent NHS midwife in 2012.
Only one region in the country, the North East, is meeting the target with 28.1 births per midwife.
This comes at a time where births are at their highest rate since the baby boom of 1971. There has been a 23 per cent increase in births in the last decade alone.
Meanwhile half of the regions in England have seen the spending on maternity services cut this year, leading to criticisms that the Government is breaking pledges to improve maternity care.
Government spending on maternity care across England rose last year. This year it has decreased again, from £2,620,977 to £2,532.530 in 2011-12.
Labour’s MP for Birmingham Edgbaston, Gisela Stuart MP says:
“Midwives are being overworked and understaffed across the country.
“The recommended number of births per midwife is 28 and the West Midlands is seeing 31.4.
This comes at a time of high birth rates and cuts to maternity services in half of the regions in England.
“The Government said they wanted to protect maternity services but that just isn’t what is happening. Maternity services, just like the rest of the NHS, can never be safe in this Tory-led Government’s hands.”