County is bucking trend on midwives

6:00pm Thursday 31st January 2013

By James Connell

PREGNANT women in Worcestershire have been reassured that there are plenty of midwives to support them.

As birth rates in England reach their highest level for 40 years, county health leaders say they are not struggling to cope in the same way as NHS trusts in other parts of the country.

Leaders at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said they have benefited from the ‘excellent’ midwifery training school at the University of Worcester and are not among the half of all trusts which admit to shutting their doors on average seven times a year when the strain on midwives becomes too great.

A spokesman said: “We have only ‘shut our doors’ for one four hour period in the last three years.”

The trust has 288 midwives working across its hospitals, including Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester, of which 214 are ‘whole-time equivalent midwives’ (full-time posts).

Births are going up with 5,817 in 2009/10, 6186 in 2010/11 and 6,228 in 2011/12. However, the birth rate has increased partly due to Worcestershire taking on high-risk births from Solihull following a change to its midwifery-led unit.

A trust spokesman said: “There was significant investment in midwifery staff in 2008/09 as part of the improving women and children strategy. “The trust reviews its midwifery staffing annually and is currently undertaking this process in light of the increase in births.”

The number of home births in 2010/11 was 103 and in 2011/12 there were 104. “Maternity services in Worcestershire are very fortunate not to have a problem with recruiting midwives and this is partly due to Worcestershire being a pleasant county to live in, the high standard of maternity care provided and the excellent midwifery training school at the University of Worcester.”

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